Monday, 13 February 2012

♥ The Modern World of Online Dating

If you watch ‘Californication’ or ‘Sex and the City’ for example, characters seem to find sexual partners wherever they turn, from a bar to a cemetery, to the DMV.  That (apparently) was so 2011.  Today, there's an array of digital tools and devices to help find love in places just as unlikely. 

The phenomenal growth of online dating has dramatically changed our concept of finding a partner, and what was a stigma ten years ago is now a thriving business worth over $3.15 billion (USD) worldwide. It is also business-like in itself, with online daters finding increasingly methodical or niche platforms to refine the search.

It is instant and mobile too. Geo-location apps such as MeetMoi and Sonar mean daters can theoretically find a prospective partner in real-time, anywhere.

With the Wedding Crashers app this could even include the wedding of complete strangers. Inspired by the film of the same name, the app locates nearby nuptials, as well as details on dress code and guests. With weddings anecdotally being one of the top places to meet a partner, it'd be a great story for the grand-kids.

For travelers, KLM's 'meet and seat' service lets travelers add a social media profile to their check-in information, allowing other passengers on the same flight to pick a seat mate of interest. 

Meanwhile, Swedish dating site Restdejting provides a dinner date with a difference. Members find partners to dine on their shared leftovers by listing the ingredients they have and what they are missing. The users then choose a date based on how well their ingredients go together. As well as a perfect solution to dining alone (not to mention waste management), it is also an interesting way of presenting yourself. In this environment, are you what you eat?

Scouting for partners through existing groups rather than a sole-purpose group (a dating website) suggests just how sophisticated the process of online dating now is, and how it can be seamlessly integrated into existing communities. Hitch Me, for example, has combined networking with romance through the launch of a dating service specifically for Linked-In users.

As such, finding a partner shifts to the status of added benefit, rather than sole objective.  Gaming is a great platform for this. World of Warcraft is just one example where avatars can interact, and within an objective based other-world, let the players get to know each other. Games on Facebook work too. The Words With Friends game is the most recent (of many) to bring about a marriage.

Offline, how about retail space? An IKEA store in Shanghai recently experienced some trouble with a group of senior citizens who began to meet regularly at the furniture store's café for unauthorized matchmaking sessions. The opportunities in what demonstrates a high demand from a particular demographic - the fastest growing client base in the global online dating scene -  are clear.

But for anyone still thinking 'is there anybody out there?', there's an app on the way for you too. The intergalactic dating app allows you to a) search for life outside of earth and b) discover if your soul mate is, in fact, an alien.  Two birds with one stone, really.

So, (as it’s the day before Valentines), we wanted to alert you to the myriad of ways to get your shag on.   Now go forth and multiply. ;)