Finding Love in the Mobile Era
Finding love isn't easy. Dating apps are a dime a dozen, but a handful of contenders make it easier and faster to meet like-minded singles. If you're like a lot of people, you find the idea of mobile dating bewildering. But it's the wave of the future. Dating sites are declining in popularity, and people are turning to smartphones to find dates: around 14 million singles last November used mobile devices in their romantic quests, double the rate from a year earlier, according to ComScore. If you're curious, the following apps offer a range of approaches to the next frontier.
Tinder: It's Like Speed Dating, Only Faster
You have things to do, people to meet and you want a date, like, now. You don't have time to browse through a million profiles, poke or message and wait on people you're interested in. What to do? Tinder, a free iOS app, promises a faster way to find Mr. or Ms. Right -- or at least Right Now Nearby. The premise is simple and straightforward: sign up with your gender, sexual orientation and location. Tinder will then ask to sync to your Facebook account. Once you accept, it creates a profile for you. Then the fun begins.
Swipe through profiles of singles in your area, and vote thumbs up or down on each one. When you vote "yes" on someone who voted "yes" on you, you both enter a private chat where you can get to know one another -- and possibly exchange information to meet. Tinder says it's better than online dating because it's more like meeting someone in life: someone catches your eye and you approach. If you see someone intriguing, you can figure out if you have anything in common.
It's basically speed dating on a smartphone: it's quick to set up and easy to use. The interface and design are similarly lightweight and streamlined yet perky. You won't find depth, but it promises speed and convenience. If you're worried about the Facebook integration, the app is very careful. It uses Facebook data just to match singles, and shows you only friends of friends, which avoids potentially awkward run-ins. In addition, it won't publish any activity to your Facebook page, so nobody will know you're using it. A lot of people are using Tinder -- important for any dating service to succeed -- and with half a million active users a month, according to AppData, you may just find love in that pool -- or at least someone fun to have a drink with for a night.
Crazy Blind Date: A Mobile Matchmaker, Maybe
Crazy Blind Date is the mobile version of OK Cupid. Like the dating giant, the free iOS app uses personality profiles and advanced algorithms to match you. There's a unique twist, though -- rather than wading through profiles to choose who you like, you set a time and place and the app finds you a blind date.
You need an OK Cupid account to use the app, then you need to fill out a fairly detailed questionnaire. But once you do, you set up your availability -- up to a week in advance -- and the app finds people to fill those slots. Unfortunately, you can't see who you're matched with, but you can communicate with them about logistics and indulge in some getting-to-know you chitchat beforehand. It's all done through the app, which is nicely designed, with an upbeat, clean interface.
If you're an adventurous risk-taker or just looking for a little companionship while out on the town, Crazy Blind Date is for you. But if you're conservative or just a bit shy, it won't be for you. Despite being allied with powerhouse OK Cupid, with years of experience honing its algorithms, you'll have to put your faith into the app's ability to find someone with a spark. It's not for the faint of heart, but sometimes in love you need to take a little risk to reap the reward.
Coffee Meets Bagel: A Kinder, Gentler Approach
Tinder and Crazy Blind Date offer speed, ease and convenience, hallmarks of an increasingly mobile culture. And those apps promise playfulness and adventure, but too many losers can make it seem like a meat market. Sometimes you just don't want to cut to the chase -- the chase is often part of the fun, after all.
Enter Coffee Meets Bagel, which appeals with a more controlled environment. After you sign up for a profile, and fill out a long questionnaire, the service sends you one match a day each afternoon. Then you have one day to decide whether to "like" or pass on them. If you both decide yes, it connects you via text without giving away your phone number.
The approach marries a Groupon-like schedule with the convenience, along with more flexibility and privacy. You can choose to connect your Facebook data to your profile, for example, and choose to see only friends-of-friends. Or you can keep stay private and anonymous. If you're cautious and want a bit more discretion, just want to avoid the overwhelming process of mobile dating, the site is perfect for you.
People have been dating since the dawn of time. But smartphones, just maybe, make it a bit easier -- if not a little more interesting. ♦
Categories: Social Networking | The Daily App