How Zoom made me like dating apps again

How Zoom made me like dating apps again

I went from hating dating apps to kinda enjoying them again by changing one thing. It was so simple.

I forgot how fun it is to let friends play your Bumble. Flip through your Hinge. See your top 5 on The League.

Dating apps exploded when they became a game you played with your friends. It became the conversation at every dinner party. Your married friends loved to swipe your Tinder. People would even Airplay their dating app to the TV so everyone could be a part of the action.

This killed the stigma around online dating and made it social. It became an activity we liked to do with our friends vs the thing we hid from our friends because of the stigma. 5 years ago, I wrote an article about an idea I hoped someone would build to let friends play matchmaker. It never took off but I still feel like it should happen.

Then we were quarantined. With all great innovations, constraints drive creativity. And timing matters.

Today, it’s all about Zoom. Zoom beers. Zoom meetings. Why not Zoom dating?

I decided to try something. Zoom allows a group of people on video chat to see my iPhone screen. If I share my screen, we can all see my dating app experience. Have fun, debate who would be good to date, and even come up with opening lines together.

I texted a couple of guys who run a dating company called Charmed and told them to hop on Zoom. What’s crazy is how great it worked. It felt exactly like it did when we were sitting together at a dinner table.

Group video chat. Share Screen. Having fun with friends on dating apps. Check out the experience below:

Blurred the person on Hinge for privacy.

Dating apps are broken. Swiping is endless. The inbox is a flaky hell hole of chaos. It’s actually a very lonely and discouraging experience for most people. I even did an interview recently with Laurie Segall about how bots might be the future of dating to save us from the swipe.

Maybe the missing piece of dating apps has always been the social layer?

We had a blast for 30 minutes. Laughing about funny profile bios, sharing our opinions of people’s photos, making fun of ourselves and our bad opening lines, it was just fun again.

It made my day, was also fun to catch up with friends. I spent more time on the dating apps yesterday than I have in years. Maybe the missing piece of dating apps has always been the social layer?

If you think about it, we date to hopefully one day introduce this person to our friends and family. What if it is the other way around? You date with your friends and family to hopefully one day get to introduce them.

Zoom is the video platform for anything. Someone needs to build a video platform for dating. Imagine everyone could draw on the screen, drop a song recommendation, help compose a message, or a million other creative ideas that would make the experience more fun. It feels like a huge idea. It could make a lot of people less lonely while in pursuit of finding someone.

What’s cool is that it works with any dating app, no permission or integration needed. Don’t pay for more swipes, just download more apps and have fun dating with your friends.

The best part is that I ended up meeting someone who seems pretty great and we had a Facetime last night. First time for that in this new socially distant world. But it got me thinking…

Maybe the future isn’t bad first coffee dates, feeling obligated to grab drinks, or having horror stories when you can’t get out of dinner. Maybe it’s simply dating with your friends and then first dates on Facetime. It sure would save a lot of time for people.

Who knows what happens tomorrow. Here’s to having fun on dating apps again. Together.

Update: My buddy Stephane Nguyen sent me this Youtube clip where a guy sent his number via drone to a lady on a rooftop nearby. If the apps don’t work, you could always try this

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Jamie Larson