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Technology Assisted Dating

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Today’s guest post is from a writer from across the pond. I’m sure he thinks Americans are <redacted>, so be sure to prove him wrong by showing him some love in the comment section below. LOL! Welcome today’s post from Ian Forrester. Enjoy!

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I live in Manchester, no not Manchester Alabama, Georgia or anywhere in the states. Manchester in the United Kingdom or England. Yes, SBM has gone slightly international but fear not the reason why I talk about Manchester is to give some context.

Manchester is famous for many things but two lesser known facts are:

  1. It contains the second biggest group of singles in the UK outside London; and
  2. It’s extremely gay friendly.

Now I’m not gay or even bi-sexual but dare I say it, some of my friends are gay (which isn’t saying much living in Manchester). A trip to the coffee shop or a bar is full of surprises. Who has not heard of the likes of Grindr? Grindr is/was extremely popular with the urban single gay males and it seems highly effective in meeting other people.

You could see this as a digital wingman of sorts or a step on the way towards a technology assisted dating/hookup depending on what you’re actually after. Before you get on your high horse, suck in your gut and say, “So sad some people need this…” Just two things to remember:

  1. My gay friends have lots of fun with it (maybe the way dating should be – sort of fun); and
  2. Is this much different than the data and algorithms of online dating?
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A little bit of help can go a long way and fellas there is nothing wrong with a little assistance once in a while (now breath out and say it with me).

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering where’s the heterosexual version?

Well, that’s a good question. There are a number of mobile apps on the market and they all promise to assist you with your dating/hookups.

The real question behind all of this is, do they actually work? Or are they just too creepy for woman to get involved?

Proximity based dating takes tech assisted dating to another level. Maybe too far?

“Have you ever heard of someone saying yeah we met on Blendr!”

“She was sitting there staring at her phone trying to make out my features. I was leafing through her vital stats… Then every once in awhile we would look at eachother then back at our phones.”

I have to admit I have had personal experiences with OkCupid’s mobile application, but they haven’t resulted in anything really happening, especially their blind date app (but that’s a story for another day).

The closest example was when I was sitting with friends in a street festival. At the time, proximity based dating apps were all new and Gridr was still an underground phenomenon taking no prisoners as it made its way through the gay communities. We talked about the beta feature and decided it was interesting but who knew if it was actually any good? On the other hand, OkCupid’s app was tied to the dating site, so tapping on someones face took you to there full OKC profile, handy to avoid all those potential bunny boilers and woman in the need of a father.

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Anyhow, a woman with striking ginger/red hair popped up. Being at a street festival, there were a lot of people around but that shade of ginger was unmistakable. As I showed my friends and debated if I had really seen her or not, there she was across the street.

Roughly 6ft tall with her 4 inch heal’s, long ginger hair and that punk rock style which oozed through her profile. But what was she doing? She was laughing with her friends pointing at the phone then looking in my general direction. I sent her a wink, but mobile phone coverage with everyone in tightly packed into a street festival is generally rubbish at best, so who knows when she would get it. Maybe the next morning, you know what it’s like on New Years sending messages to loved ones.

If I was half the person that I was now, I would have approached her and her friends. Heck it’s an odd introduction and boy oh boy would it have been a little weird if she was actually looking up someone else on her phone. Then again, we could have had a good laugh about the fact and who knows what could have happened?

Opportunity missed…

So, is there a future for proximity based dating? I doubt it, I see it going the way of Bluetooth dating or toothing as the youth call it here. There will be rumours and folk laws of people who hooked up on trains, trams, the underground and the coaches. You only have to scratch around the gay communities to hear frankly outrageous stories of hookups and ever so brief encounters. But in the heterosexual world, I think there will be more myths of a friend of a friend who once hooked up with a hottie between the carriages of the Virgin train going to London from Manchester. The stuff of 50 shades or total nonsense, but then back to reality.

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Technology can and will assist in all types of ways including meeting other people. But ultimately, you have to be willing to follow it through (you can only lead a horse to water). Its really important to think of these technologies as only assisting; they are not foolproof. Your Google Glasses might be screaming at you, but you’ve still got to do the talking… but heck what do I know?

Tell me I got it all wrong… Add a comment below.

What do you think about the potential for proximity based dating apps? What success or failures have you had with on-line dating?

Comment(21)

  1. Proximity based dating sounds like something from an SVU episode, actually i think there’s been one. I dont particularly use GPS based apps (although admittedly i attempted to use a “nearby tweets” feature on ubersocial to see if it would show this cute girl on a crowded subway train, didnt work, stupid app). I could see the potential, if i “checked in” to a place and i could see others who have as well, but reading a profile or someone before u approach kinda kills it. However, it might work for others I just rather not scout and recruit my women,

    1. I like the idea of proximity based dating, don't get me wrong… But I don't know anyone who isn't gay who has seriously met anyone for anything interesting. Maybe its down to the way women use (or don't use these apps?)

  2. I read an article on why Grindr catering to the homosex is more popular than Blendr catering to the heterosex. The main difference was that gay people (specifically the gay dudes) were using Grindr mostly for casual sex, but straight people were using Blendr for finding dates and meeting people.

    So why not just make an app that is geared toward hetero casual sex? Enter the social construct of "slut shaming," which disincentives chicks from using an app for finding random meat to ride. Even tho the guys would absolutely LOVE it, chicks apparently don't like such informal casual sex experiences, or maybe the method makes them look too desperate.

    Then there is the stat that 80% of men on dating sites were rated as unattractive or undesirable by women.

    My theory is that any location-based casual sex app that finds success would have to treat women users and men users differently– like a different interface and experience for each. I also think it'd work best for a niche community. So maybe cater to black people, and start off in a city with a large colorful population like Atlanta or DC…

    I got ideas yo, who wants to be a beta tester? lol

    1. Great points. I think other than e-harmony and like black ppl meet and one more really popular dating site, all the other ones are just used by heterosexuals for finding hook ups. Example “Plenty of Fish”.

      Even with the help of technology, you still have to be able to show all that personality in person and not just online.

      While slut shamming is an issue , women have been hooking up via the net since the black planet days . I think the only difference between that and this app is how fast you actually meet the person. You send someone a message on one of these other casual dating sites, you can always back out. Blender the person is right there.

      1. Black people meet is a joke! E-harmony or Match are probably the best two online dating sites if looking for serious minded men or women.

        1. There's already those sites which specify one type of thing, such as theblackdatingcafe.co.uk/ and blackcupid.com. But neither have an app or proximity app.

          I certainly wouldn't say Eharmony and Match were the best. biggest yes but its about quality.
          My recent post OkCupid’s Crazy Blind Dating a failure?

    2. Would love to see what happens if you can hit one niche community.
      There's loads of apps out there which could be used/rebranded… but currently the stories I've heard are all gay or someones mothers, cousins, brother once had this experience… 🙁

      Could Beta test from the UK 😉

  3. I’ve said this before… I completely understand why women avoid dating sites (of any kind); and I completely misunderstand why men don’t. It’s not that I have anything agains dating sites – actually I support them and used a few in a past life. I just don’t think they’re conducive to what most women (claim) they’re looking for, which is something at least slightly greater than just a casual hook-up.

    1. I think dating sites like E-harmony work better for an older crowd like 33+. Even in the commercials most of the people finding love on the sites (especially men) are older and established, out of the club scene, probably been in a few serious relationships, maybe even marriage and is now divorced.

      The internet for the 30 and under crowd is a playground; most men in that age rang see it as a way to find more chex. Especially with more women 25+ getting accounts.

      1. In the UK the swing for online dating goes from about 20 up to 50+. So things might be slighly different. I was planning on posting something about Facebook for dating which seems to be a younger type thing but thats growing quickly into the older generations.

  4. People seem to hook up (one nighters) easily enough without apps but if someone needs assistance it would be a good idea.

  5. Online dating sucks! It really does.. especially for a woman. I've tried it a time or two, or three. The odds are against you. But who knows, after talking to a 100 guys or so, you may run into Mr. Right.
    My recent post Closet Freak II

    1. Is there a significant difference between ignoring 100 guys off-line as there is 100 guys on-line? Serious question. If the objective is to find "Mr. Right," seems like the ends justify the means.

    2. The only reason I'd use a dating site is to find a fling. I don't recall ever knowing any fellow dude who was really looking for love on one of these sites.

      It's so funny when you see a girl's profile and it has the disclaimer: "serious inquiries only. dont contact me if all you want is a one night stand"

      as if thats gonna dissuade a dude from trying.

      Dont believe the Match.com commercials (30% of all people ever married met on match dot com!). If Mr. Right is on a dating site, he's probably just looking for Ms. Rightnow, not a soulmate.

      1. I am not saying you're wrong. but I know too many couples who met on online dating sites for me to fully agree. This isn't a fluke.

  6. Online dating is merely another avenue to meet folks….I wouldn't advocate spending enormous amount of time communicating online, texts, email, etc. and thinking you're inlove only to find out when you meet that they aren't who they say they are [CATFISH, SHAWTY] but just like meeting in person, it is what it is. I know some successful relationships to develop from online and offline initial meetings. You'll find jerks and retards in person too….why wouldn't you think they that they are also not online?

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