How Technology has Disrupted Online Dating – and how to navigate through it

Online Dating has been around for decades now, but it has become saturated and ghosting is as ubiquitous as catfishing now. In this episode I explain how technology has disrupted the dating scene, and how you can try and get good results from your matches.

Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

On today’s episode we’re going to discuss how technology has completely disrupted the world of online dating the different categories of dating and how you can try to navigate through all of these new technologies that have made dating easier but also a heck of a lot harder to find your match. I’ll start off by saying, I’m going to stick to the four categories of online dating that I have found through my 15 plus years of being one of these online daters. And I guess you can consider me somewhat of an expert of an online dater being that I’ve been on literally 1000s of dates and the four categories I’m going to stick to are people who just want to hook up people who are looking to date. People who are looking for a serious relationship. And then those people who want to settle down and get married and start a family. So why do I consider myself an expert. Well, first off, I’ve been using online dating sites like OkCupid and plenty of fish and match calm and then. recently Bumble and Tinder and Coffee Meets Bagel and hinge, you name it, I’ve tried it, and I’ve used them quite a lot over the course of 15 years in 2013, you can say that I got fed up with online dating, because it was very superficial based on photos, and what people wrote in their profiles. And what I found was, people were very rarely who they said they were, what their pictures portrayed and catfishing became a phenomenon, everybody was catfishing everybody using pictures that were 10 years old, or saying that you were a certain way your profile but when you meet in person, you’d find that the person was not what you thought.

So I decided to build a video dating app in 2013 called Instamour, and I was pretty successful with it I was able to get into an accelerator program from TechStars called start fast in New York in 2014. We reached roughly half a million users in a couple of years of being active we were able to get some funding. And of course in 2015, we tried to raise a second round of funding and we were unsuccessful we were able to get halfway there but the online dating market was so saturated and investors were kind of tired of getting pitch dating apps that we just weren’t able to get that round of funding. But what we found was people genuinely liked our platform because it allowed people to get to know each other through video profiles and video messages and video calls, so we eliminated bad dates, we eliminated catfishing, we eliminated basing profiles on pictures and text it was all video real time, you can really get to know someone just as if you went to a coffee shop with them for five minutes to meet them in face to face. That was the goal of the app was to eliminate bad dates. Fast forward a couple years and I ended up pivoting to video discovery instamorph is still alive as a way to meet people through video but for activities or interests because I found that people were getting tired of dating once again. And as I found myself still single over all the years I realized the hookups dating relationships and marriage categories seem to be all mixed together into all the apps. So for example, if you meet someone who says they want a relationship but then they end up just wanting to hook up.

Well that didn’t really match what you’re looking for, or if he just wanted to hook up with somebody and they wanted a relationship, same thing, it’s just not gonna match up. And yes, there are plenty of subsets of these categories I mean there’s BDSM there’s open marriages there’s friends with benefits you know casual there’s a lot of different ways to, you know, look at different subsets but for the purposes of this podcast episode I’m going to stick to this simplistic categories. So some people might think that hookups and dating are the same thing but they’re actually not, this is just my opinion but hookups are just people who want to hook up with other people. It could be a one time thing, it could potentially become a friends with benefits, but you don’t want to date these people or try to force them to be more serious than just a hook up because they just want to hook up, and then dating is a step above of hooking up, because these are people who want to meet a bunch of different people and hook up on the regular, and maybe it could turn into a serious relationship, if the dating goes well. But again, you don’t want to show up being all serious right away. And you don’t want to, you know, scare them off by making them sound like you want a relationship because they are probably dating multiple people, but you do want to show them a little bit more attention than you would to a regular hookup. Because if you do show them you’re interested, and they’re interested back then the dating could turn into a relationship.

Now we all know relationships are people who are tired of dating, they just want to come home to one person. They want to share their life with someone, hopefully move in together hopefully get married but they might not be quite there yet, they might just be looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, a steady person to be intimate with. And these are the types of people that you should stay away from if you do not want a relationship. They don’t want to hook up, they don’t want to date. So just stop breaking people’s hearts, stop ghosting them. You know when you know they want a relationship, don’t date them if that’s not what you’re looking for. And I’m not going to get into marriage because we all know what marriage means marriage means you literally want to spend the rest of your life with somebody and have kids or not have kids and just be married, either one, but if somebody, pretty much says it out loud that they want to get married, have kids don’t date them. Don’t hook up with them. Don’t hurt their feelings, you know that they’re not trying to hook up they want to get married. So why why would you waste everybody’s time. Now, from talking to different people and doing my research of course reading books, reading posts on Reddit reading people’s comments on Reddit and looking at the data for online dating. Yes, there are a lot of different nuances and details that go into this. For example, let’s say you are set in stone you want a relationship, you don’t want to hook up. You don’t want to date. You just want to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.

So you start to look for people who want that, and you find out that there are people out there who are what you’re looking for. So you start to meet them. But when you meet them and you start to spend time with them let’s just, let’s make an example. Let’s say you’re a guy and you meet a girl who says she wants a relationship and you want a relationship. And you guys hit it off great after one or two weeks and you’re intimate and you’re enjoying each other’s company and everything’s going great. All of a sudden, she goes to. What’s ghosting. She doesn’t respond to your texts, she doesn’t call you she doesn’t text you she basically disappears like a ghost, and you’re wondering what happens because she said she wanted a relationship and you did too, and things were going so great, but she disappeared. Well, there are a number of things that could have happened. The first thing you have to remember is when someone tells you they want a relationship, they probably do. But if they ghost you or if they break up with you, or if things don’t work out, then it ends up being that you both did want a relationship, but one person, ended up finding out that they did not want to be in a relationship with you, or vice versa. So, what you thought was going to be a relationship ended up being dating or figuring out if you want a relationship. This is where there’s a fine line between figuring out what you want and finding the person that matches your requirements, but then also, both of you still feel that same way after a certain amount of time. It gets a little tricky. gitr thing is when people post what they’re looking for on their profile, they may not be the exact same thing they’re looking for that they you talk to them because not everybody edits their profiles on a regular basis. So let’s say for example you meet someone and they seem perfect for you.

The pictures are great, the profiles great you meet in person you have a fantastic first couple dates, but what they didn’t tell you is that they just had a bad breakup, you know, maybe the girl you’re dating just left a guy after two years she was maybe even living with him. And she’s still emotionally heartbroken. And so she’s trying to pick up the pieces and start over with you, but she’s not quite there yet, and it’s not your fault, but she can’t be with you because she’s just too depressed. Well, again, that’s not your fault. But here’s the thing. Your job as a single person is trying to figure out everything about the person you’re about to start dating or be in a relationship with prior to investing your emotions. It’s very difficult I know, but you have to try because, unfortunately, not everybody opens up right away, they don’t tell you their deepest darkest secrets or their emotional baggage, or the personal stuff they’re dealing with such as depression or anxiety or they’re not happy in their job or, you know, maybe they’re struggling to pay their bills, people aren’t going to tell you this right off the bat, so you have to do your best to try to find out what pieces of a person’s characteristics or their personal life do you want to compromise on, or do you want to try to help them with or what are the deal breakers, what are the things that you can’t deal with. One of the things you can do to navigate the murky waters of online dating nowadays is to stay in your lane, where your category. Just look for the people that are in the category you’re looking for so if you are looking for a relationship or if you want to get married. Stay away from the younger people who are just looking to hook up, you know, most millennials nowadays aren’t sure that they want to be in relationships they seem to be jumping around to different people.

I’ve tried to date younger women millennials I’ve tried to date, my age, I’ve tried women who were divorced with children. I tried a lot of different types of ethnicities. And what I found is not everybody knows what they want. They think they do, and maybe they do, but you might not be it. And that is by far the hardest part of this is not only finding someone who meets your requirements someone who matches your personality and you have things in common. And you’re also physically attracted to. But that they feel the same way about you talk about the biggest curse. It’s finally finding someone who you feel like you know what, I can spend the rest of my life with this person, but they don’t feel the same way. That’s the worst but it’s something that you’re gonna have to come to terms with. It’s just, that’s life. It’s unfair. And you have to keep trying to find the person that matches you, but also feels the same way about you and does not ghost you after two weeks. So after talking to a lot of people and reading some books, and realizing that technology has completely shifted dating and it’s not what it used to be. Five years ago 10 years ago 20 years ago it’s completely different nowadays. I thought of two different ways that we could potentially solve the problem.

I’m not saying we should build these platforms I’m just coming up with an idea is what I do as an entrepreneur I try to solve problems and here’s what I came up with the first idea would be a dating app that allowed you based on the photos or videos or profile information, or a combination of all three to decide based on what you can see on the superficial surface of course without meeting them. If you feel as though the person would be worth it to hook up with date, have a relationship with or get married to. I know it’s crazy it sounds crazy I’m just spitballing here but I’m talking about. Instead of swiping left and right like yes or no yes or no yes or no, it’s not as cut and dry as that a lot of times when I swipe right on a woman on a dating app. I might think that she looks cute enough and nice enough to hang out with, and get to know, but I might not see long term potential with her. But, I’m always looking for new friends also so it’s not so bad to swipe right on someone in the case that maybe she’ll become a good friend or maybe she has friends who wants to hire me because they need a mentor, and I also look for new clients so dating apps I’ve actually met a lot of clients.

So imagine you can swipe for different ways, hook up date relationship or marriage. Now, when someone receives your, you know, heart or your swipe or whatever, they will know what you’re looking for. If they feel the same way about what you’re looking for, like say you want to just hook up with somebody and they swipe hookup back. Now you know exactly what you’re getting into these two people will now just meet to hook up where they will meet specifically to start a relationship they don’t want to hook up they don’t want to date. They just want a relationship. And same with marriage. I know it sounds crazy but, hey, what about people getting set up to be married, you know before even meeting their husband or their bride in different countries like people are matched automatically based on families they don’t even get to choose arranged marriages are very common. Still today, so why not choose marriage based on what you see in someone’s profile. At least you know when you meet somebody that swiped marriage on you, that they’re tired of the games they don’t want to hook up they don’t want to date. They don’t even really want to have a relationship where you might break up with them and find somebody else. This is somebody who wants to be married and wants to have kids, it’s very specific, I think that if you had these choices, and you tell the people on the apps. This is what I swiped on you. They can at least know what your intentions are before meeting.

One last example would be, say a girl swiped on a guy saying that she wants a relationship with him because he looks the way she likes guys to look is information in the profile is what she’s looking for in characteristics and personality traits and maybe there’s a video profile that she was super attracted to. And she says, Yeah, I don’t want to hook up with you. I don’t want to date you. I want to have a relationship with you. Let’s just be girlfriend, boyfriend after a couple dates, if it goes well. And the guy might look at her profile and say, Yeah, I would hurt her feelings because I would just want to hook up, so he’s going to say no to the relationship, but that he would hook up, and the girl will just decline. Problem solved. The second idea I came up with a little different. It has to do with this phenomenon of ghosting. Everybody is getting ghosted, or they’re ghosting people. It’s this new thing like, just not telling someone why you don’t want to see them anymore, just disappearing off the face of the planet, blocking them from your phone, deleting them from your facebook. unfollowing them on Instagram, everything, it’s just poof, disappeared ghost. How do you stop that. Well, you might not be able to stop it, but you might be able to moderate it or control it in some way. So he was an idea I had. Imagine an app just like Bumble or OkCupid or Tinder or any of the other apps out there any of them.

And you are chatting with someone on the app and it’s going really well. And all of a sudden, the person stops chatting with you and they unmatched with you, even though you, you thought it was going amazingly well the conversation was perfect and you guys were getting ready to meet, but they disappeared. They unmatched. You never got their phone number so you can’t call them. Well, every time you match with someone on this app, a moderator would be assigned to your you know your match. And before you can match with somebody. Before you ghost them. You have to tell the moderator what happens.

So for example, say, a guy was having a conversation with a girl and the girl decided she didn’t like what the guy was saying and she ended up, or maybe she met someone else, the day before meeting the guy or maybe she realized his pictures weren’t exactly what she thought because she found them on Facebook and she saw more of his pictures and realized that now he gained weight since those pictures and there can be so many different reasons why somebody goes to somebody else. Well, now she has to specifically tell the moderator what happened. And then the moderator will give the feedback to the other person. This way the person knows exactly why he or she was ghosted. Same goes for a dating person, let’s say, a girl meets a guy in person after a week of talking on the phone, and they meet in person, and they have a good date, and they have a second date, and they start to see each other for over a week maybe two weeks maybe even a month. And all of a sudden crickets ghost, the guy disappears. And the girl has no idea why he won’t return her calls he won’t text her. It’s just over she’s depressed and miserable and heartbroken. Well, he wouldn’t have been able to do that he would have to tell the moderator. What happened, why did he ghost her, did he meet somebody else did he find out that there was something about her he didn’t like what was the reason for the ghosting. And if he didn’t answer, he would be kicked off the app and he wouldn’t be able to use it anymore.

So there has to be some sort of way to monitor this and how to make sure people do give the feedback, I feel as though the biggest problem people have based on what I’m reading online on Reddit and a lot of other places that people, you know, talking about online dating is that people don’t give the reasons why they’re ghosting. And I feel like if people started understanding the reasons why they were being ghosted maybe then, if it is on them, maybe they can start improving themselves somehow, or maybe it’s not on them at least that they won’t feel so bad about it like well it wasn’t me, it was him or it was her. Then stop feeling bad about yourself, because it wasn’t your fault and guess what guys, I’m going to tell you something right now, when you’re ghosted, it’s usually not you, it’s usually the other person that has issues, they’re depressed or they’re not happy with their lives, or maybe they just needed someone to hang out with you know they they were lonely they, or maybe they wanted to have sex, and they thought you were cute. And they said hey this person will be fun for a couple weeks, it’s bad to do that to somebody and they shouldn’t be doing that but that’s why you have to prepare yourself mentally for the fact that you probably will get ghosted, it’s going to happen. Just be ready for it. And remember that it’s not going to be your fault. Normally, it’s going to be something that has to do with themselves, not you. And you just got caught in the crossfire. So, you have to try your best to find the category that you feel as though you’re in at this moment, and then find someone who’s also in that category. And then pray that you both like each other, both physically and personality wise and hope that neither of you ghost each others, but in this world of online dating where it’s just completely mashed together and nobody knows what they want anymore. You have to at least try to find it. So good luck out there. I’d love to hear your comments about the ideas I came up with. and I hope you find your match one day.

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