Dating as we know has completely changed in the wake of the pandemic. As more states reopen, singles are starting to wonder how to get back in the dating game safely. Dating app provider, The Meet Group launched a Safer Dating Advisory Board Thursday made up of top epidemiologists and health experts to consult on dating products, provide safer dating guidance, as well as help shape the company's response to the novel coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic.
The company believes the future of dating lies in live streams.
"The age of this shallow swiping app that we've seen is over," Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group told Cheddar. "In the very early days of the pandemic, video was really the replacement for interaction and now as society, for better or for worse, reopens we're seeing it more as a filter to screen potential dates for connection and compatibility before meeting in person"
The Meet Group manages five dating apps, MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, Lovoo, and Growler which serve about 15 million monthly users around the world. Cook says the company has been focused on video-first dating since 2016.
"Our goal is to really make everyone the star of their own dating show," said Cook. The apps incorporate games into the live streams to be more interactive. Since widespread pandemic-related shutdowns began in March, users have played 185,000 of those games a day, a 95 percent increase. Those games include virtual public versions of speed dating and blind dates, along with games that incorporate augmented reality.
For those looking to make a more direct impression, there are other ways to stand out too. Users can buy and send virtual gifts to streamers. "People are giving virtual flowers and yachts to stand out," said Cook. "We liken ourselves to the virtual bar or coffee shop and giving a gift is kind of like the drink at a bar. It's a way to stand out in a crowded space."
But Cook says it takes more than a camera to make an impression if you're the one streaming. "The people who do best in live streaming don't necessarily have a particular talent, but they're good conversationalists," said Cook. "They're engaging, they smile, and they can think on their feet."