The spread of coronavirus has changed pretty much everything in our lives. With strict social distancing rules in place, non-essential shops closed and flights grounded, it’s easy to feel as though life has ground to a halt. Our homes are our new worlds, while our phone, computer and TV screens have become our lifelines, the only things connecting us to the outside world.
Dating apps and sites have faced real challenges because people can’t actually meet up. For many this takes away from the whole point of online dating. No one dates online to stay online, right? So dating apps and sites are adapting to keep online dating alive throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Not being able to actually meet up may turn some people off of online dating. But dating apps do have the undeniable need for human connection on their side. And this is where technology has been our saving grace. It’s introduced the possibility of virtual dates, and allowed dating apps to publish public health updates and encourage social distancing. It’s safe to say that technology isn’t just changing our dating lives, but enriching them too.
Dating apps are evolving
While dating app usage has shot up since worldwide lockdowns have been enforced, dating apps have been tasked with adapting to the evolving nature of online dating. Apps and sites need to become the end-to-end dating service, rather than the middle-man matchmakers they’ve been before. This has produced a range of lockdown-friendly services and strategies being rolled out by dating apps and sites.
Big hitters like Match have launched a “Dating while distancing” hotline to provide free quarantine-related dating advice. And Tinder has made a previously paid-for feature, Passport, free so that its users can connect with people globally.
We’ve also seen the emergence of new services like LIVE! from Plenty of Fish, a virtual speed-dating service, and even new dating apps emerging in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. From Love at First Swipe, to the aptly named Quarantine Together, which requires you to wash your hands before allowing you to have matches.
Introducing Video Dating
The same way we use FaceTime to speak to loved ones during this time, why shouldn’t we with potential partners? Apps like Bumble, who have always had a video chat function, have encouraged users to virtually date, seeing usage of the feature soar by 93% in one week. And others are catching up, with Hinge partnering with online-conference call facilitator, Zoom, to provide fun backdrops for virtual dates, and So Ship launching their #DFH (Date From Home) feature. It also provides different backgrounds to create a “date” atmosphere (think chic restaurant backgrounds while you both order Deliveroo to each other’s houses).
This new model of online dating is making online dating so much easier, and more accessible too. Watch this space – the popularity of these new features, and the video dating trend will be here to stay, even after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Love is Blind, but IRL
So it turns out the Netflix dating show that took social media by storm isn’t just a show – you can legit do it in real life. A new dating app called Love in Quarantine has popped up and works by putting users in ‘virtual pods’ where they can text, but not see how their match looks. If there’s a connection, then faces are revealed and they can connect over video chat. How’s that for keeping up with the times?
Putting the ‘dating’ back in online dating
Online dating apps have been notorious for facilitating a culture of casual, meaningless dating and hookups. As fun as they are, they have taken some of the meaning out of dating in the 21st century. Yet, this global pandemic has taken us back to a more old-fashioned approach.
With no access to a quick physical fling, online daters are actually taking time out to get to know people. Reminiscent of old-fashioned courting, having all this time before anything physical can happen may be what we need in what’s become a superficial society. It means that you can cultivate real connections, and have that much of a better chance at a relationship that will last (once we’re allowed out).
Under lockdown, people are taking dating more seriously and putting more time and effort into their matches. This can make for some pretty romantic gestures. From rooftop love stories to online serenading, it’s nice to see that romance is still in the (virtual) air, despite a global pandemic. So put yourself out there, you never know what romantic online experience you might get out of it!
Virtual dating made fun
You might think of virtual dating and think you’re limited to FaceTime. But, you, my friend, would be wrong. There is a world of opportunities available with virtual dating, you just have to find them. Countless museums, parks, and aquariums are offering virtual tours you can access from your living room, and there are so many activities that you can do together over the phone. And getting creative with a virtual date isn’t only fun for you, but will also impress your match – a win-win situation if you ask us.
Technology continues to redefine the way we connect
Technology has always been a pioneer in transforming our lives and creating new ways of doing things – and dating is no different. During lockdown, technology has become our go-to source for both information and human connection. We’re excited to see how it develops further as lockdowns and social distancing look set to be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.
Love on lockdown is still possible, so go ahead and virtually miingle!