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Mobile phone's home screen showing 8 different dating apps - Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Aisle, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Happn and Floh

How Online Dating Will Change in the Next Decade

As we enter 2020, we are on the cusp of Dating 3.0. Let’s take a look at the journey so far and what’s coming up next in online dating.

Dating 1.0 (circa 2000-2010) was a bunch of listing services that essentially took the newspaper classifieds online and digitized the matchmaking industry. In India, this was pioneered by the likes of Shaadi.com and Matrimony.com. 

Dating 2.0 (circa 2010-2019) saw the emergence of dating apps optimized for a mobile experience. The advantage of a larger pool of profiles was offset by the paradox of choice. There were simply too many profiles to go through, and that led to incredible levels of ‘Dating Fatigue’. 

Dating 3.0 (2020 onwards) is where technology will become integrated into the user’s life and help him/her to meet needs in the physical, real life
world. It is the age of “phy-gital”. Dating 3.0 goes beyond the superficial, and focuses on going deeper than a two-dimensional profile on an app.

The Floh Single In The City 2020 Survey, highlights that despite a proliferation of dating apps, a whopping 70% of singles are dating less than compared to 2 years ago. There are 3 key reasons for this: 

Endless Messaging, Zero Meetings

People are tired of the endless swiping and messaging. Many dating app users report that despite having used dating apps for an extended period, they’ve never met another person in real life via those apps! On the outset though, dating apps look very exciting. The endless supply of profiles, sending messages, getting likes and responses, all give you a big dopamine fix! For most people what happens next is just an endless loop of this. A few months later when they have hardly met any of these people in real life, it all seems such a waste of time and effort that they end up deleting these apps in frustration. 

Fake Profiles / Married People

To top it all, are the fake profiles and married people on these apps. Many singles are so scarred by the soul sapping experience that dating apps provide, that they get into serious depression. Here’s a real-world example: A friend of mine was about to go on a date with a man she met on Bumble. They had been chatting for a few weeks and he was witty, charming and really knew how to flirt. She was super excited to finally meet him. Just before she was about to leave the house to meet him, he calls her and says “ I am really looking forward to meeting you, but I just want you to know that I am married and I hope that’s okay”. She hung up and is now in counseling as it is her 3rd experience of such kind. All dating apps have been deleted from her phone.

The Illusion of Choice

The most seductive aspect of dating apps is the seemingly endless number of profiles that a user is presented with. This leads to users of dating apps passing on extremely high potential matches, simply because they believe that there will be another (i.e. better) profile presented to them in the next swipe. This pattern is extremely detrimental and keeps you away from the great relationship you should be in.

Let’s play this out a bit: You find someone you are connecting with well. Instead of putting effort in nurturing this relationship, you itch to go back to see if you can get someone better. When we shop for fashion online, we get multiple reviews and suggestions on what product to buy. We inadvertently follow the same process for profiles on these apps, commoditizing humans. The only difference is, in online shopping you get the satisfaction of buying the product but on dating app, you can’t buy the people you see. Ladies and gentlemen – YOU are not a commodity. By extension, we need to stop treating others like digital commodities.

Here’s what the swiping culture does to you. Your self confidence dips to such low levels it is extremely difficult to get it back – you wonder when there are so many people in the world, why you can’t find just one? You stop believing in loving relationships when you see so many married people on dating apps. And, last but not the least, this ‘shopping’ driven approach to finding a human being for romance is keeping you away from that one person you should be with. 

Welcome, Dating 3.0 (2020 onwards)

This decade, to paraphrase Thoman Friedman, is about going “deep” to find real meaning. What does that mean for the online dating world?

In an age where smart algorithms are table stakes for dating apps, the real edge is going to come from offerings that enable face to face interactions, so that people can go deeper than a two-dimensional profile on a mobile phone.

Companionship is a basic human condition, and meeting in real life is the only true way for two people to know if there’s chemistry between them.

Floh leverages a lot of tech not only to ensure that our members get to see the profiles of people they’re most likely to click with, but we also create hundreds of opportunities for them to meet in real-life to determine compatibility. We think of this as a deep connection in a world where people are increasingly isolated, thanks to digital addiction. 

Many are now wisening up to the gamification of dating apps and how they leave us alone with our phone at the end of the game.

Enter Dating 3.0. It’s time to swipe the swiping apps permanently and start meeting “In Real Life”!

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