Online dating in the coronavirus era: how to adapt to the game
BEFORE COVID-19, the biggest danger of a first date was the risk of rolling your eyes while your game purred on parasailing or poker. Back then, the online dating protocol was to go from a brief chat through the app to a date or even a kiss, “as quickly as possible after sliding each other to the right,” said Dawoon Kang, founder of Coffee Meets Bagel.
But now, with no end to the pandemic in sight, the makers of dating apps are looking for ways to extend safe virtual relationships for weeks, if not months, expanding their roles from matchmakers to love feeders.
“It gives us a chance to rethink the way we go out and meet people,” said Dani Fankhauser, who co-founded XO, a recently launched app that aims to facilitate meaningful and more fun relationships.
Instead of fostering connections through basic conversation, XO uses in-app icebreakers like the ‘Kiss, Get Married, Fight’ games (choose which of the three celebrities / cartoons / mascots brand you want to kiss, marry or fight) or “I draw, you Title” (self-explanatory). Each gives Covid-era singles fun ways to interact and non-apocalyptic topics to inspire discussion.
Likewise, this week, Coffee Meets Bagel is rolling out a “Virtual Date Nudge” to facilitate budding and socially distant relationships. After two people swipe in and start chatting, the app prompts everyone to select a digital date idea from a list of six, including a game night, virtual museum tour, or cooking recipe swap. together by video. When one person selects one, signaling “I’m open to this,” the other is alerted.