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Online Dating Goes Virtual In The Wake Of Social Distancing

March 25, 2020 Carolyn Harding

With social distancing becoming the new normal and subsequently putting any dinner and drink dates on hold, dating apps are rallying together to let users know their love lives shouldn’t suffer. “People don’t want to feel alone, and they’ve already watched everything on Netflix,” said Adam Cohen-Aslatei, CEO of the dating app S’More.

With online and mobile dating apps used by millions every day, many platforms have felt the pressure to create innovative approaches to connect people in the current pandemic we are living through.

Tinder Goes Global

Screenshot of Tinder passport showing a map of the world with people on top. Photo from Tinder.

Taking the idea of transporting users out of self-quarantine and into anywhere in the world, Tinder announced it will be waiving their premium “Passport” feature fees through the end of April. The Tinder Passport feature allows users to swipe on profiles outside of their respective cities, so a user self-quarantining in Chicago can now connect with users in Spain, if they so choose.

Tinder acknowledged the importance of having someone to chat with right now, stating, “In these trying times, while we all know we need to stay home, this doesn't mean we have to be alone with our thoughts. Having someone to talk to can make a world of difference.”

Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said the decision to open up the Passport feature to all users will give the Tinder community “the technology to share, learn and listen to those that are experiencing this same situation in different geographies during an unprecedented period of isolation.”

Here/Now Transitions To Zoom Calls

Here/Now, known for specializing in events like “the Mixer,” where attendants can meet up at various locations and talk, is committed to maintaining their in-person approach to dating during the pandemic. The solution? Zoom calls. Here/Now Co-Founder Lynsey Wheeler said all events will now be held over Zoom, with intimate groups of 12 guests.

Attendees will be given one-on-one opportunities over an hour to connect with each person attending the event. However, there are a few rules. All attendants must refrain from speaking about work, checking their phones or having multiple tabs open during the online chat. Discussions about Coronavirus are also discouraged.

“We have been really intentional about creating ways for people to connect in a time when the in-person isn’t possible, because there's a real risk for people to get sucked into social media and start swiping and swiping and feel this really voyeuristic closeness to other people, and that's really unhealthy in a time where we're already feeling more lonely than normal,” said Wheeler.

Plenty Of Fish Rolls Out Live-Streams

Encouraging singles to “date from a distance,” Plenty of Fish rolled out a new feature allowing all users to live-stream for free, similar to how they would on most other social platforms. Plenty of Fish users can search for nearby streams and leave comments as they watch, which can eventually be moved to private messages, where further conversation is encouraged between singles.

“Our mission is to find new ways for singles to connect while easing the pressures of dating, and right now, it's more critical than ever,” said Plenty of Fish CEO Malgosia Green. “As a dating app, our business is in a unique position to innovate quickly to combat the anxiety singles may be feeling right now.”

Ultimately, many dating apps have prioritized the safety and health of their users, strongly encouraging and stressing the importance of social distancing at this time. Even still, the drastic shift to an online world has seen positive results for the matchmaking industry. Bumble experienced a major jump in messages sent throughout cities under shelter-in-place orders. Between March 12 and 22, the popular dating app recorded a 21% increase in sent messages in Seattle, a 23% increase in New York City and a 26% increase in San Francisco.

As all industries continue to navigate through and adapt to virtual day-to-day life, dating platforms that create new ways to promote connectivity in a time of isolation will likely reap the benefits of increased user activity.

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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