COVID-19 is changing the way dating apps work, for better and for worse.
Truly the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way this world operates. With almost every facet of human society put on hold, it’s interesting to see just how humankind will adapt.
As governments around the world implement lockdown and stay-at-home protocols and with coronavirus cases increasing each day, there is no doubt that people’s interpersonal relationships would be affected, especially in regards to dating. As per the World Health Organization, kissing is the most efficient way to spread the novel coronavirus.
Dating in a time of “social distancing” would seem like a paradox, but apparently, people are finding ways to deal with it.
Contradictory but necessary
People logging into Tinder would be met with an announcement from the online dating platform saying, “Social distancing doesn’t have to mean disconnecting. We hope to be a place for connection during this challenging time, but it’s important to stress that now is not the time to meet in real life with your match. Please keep things here for now.”
Tinder’s warning to their clients may seem contradictory to the purpose of dating, which people hope to culminate in meeting real-time, but given the situation with the pandemic, it’s necessary.
Encouraging more meaningful connections from a distance
Tinder and many other dating apps are sacrificing profit and functionality in order to encourage more people to form deeper connections online without meeting in real life. To do this, Tinder had temporarily made its Passport feature free. With this, Tinder users would be able to match at the city of their choice without paying the subscription fee.
Another dating app, Hinge, had also added a Dating From Home feature that would let matched people to set up video chats. Plenty of Fish had also rolled out video streaming features just last month.
While video chats and live streaming are features that dating apps normally do not use, many are now integrating them in order to encourage people to date from a distance.
A spike in dating app use
As a great number of people are forced to stay indoors, and in a time of social distancing and isolation, single people are lonelier than ever. In fact, OkCupid reports that their user engagement had increased drastically as more and more people go on lockdown.
According to OkCupid, their app matches and conversations have increased by 10% and 20%, respectively. Messages sent on the platform had also increased by 30% across the world.
Furthermore, the dating app asked its users how they plan to date during the pandemic; around 94% of them had answered that they would still continue to date virtually despite the situation.
Virtual dates help emotional connections thrive
As couples who matched are unable to meet up personally, virtual dating has become a way for them to get to know each other better, and this has led to a decrease in users that seek only casual relationships and hookups by around 20%, according to OkCupid.
Virtual dates give couples a fair amount of time to get to know each other more intimately and find out if they are a compatible pair. This happens because the physical urges are set aside, giving couples more time for conversations and “more time together” while not being together.