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Home Blog Appy ever after - Apps versus traditional online dating

Appy ever after - Apps versus traditional online dating

Wednesday June 12, 2013

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I hold a particular distrust for online dating. It's not that I think it's a bad idea, it's just that the way most sites are constructed mean you're unlikely to avoid a plethora of spam messages, fake profiles and bots trawling the site collecting your email address so they can helpfully offer you sex enhancement pills, PPI claims and the occasional Nigerian money laundering opportunity.

There are some notable exceptions but on the whole, online dating is attached to an old fashioned approach to the internet that would leave the Netscape Navigator browser looking decidedly bleeding edge.

Some have suggested my regular dismissive missives of the medium are based on a speed dating bias. It's true that I definitely feel speed dating is a far better, more enjoyable and fun way to meet people. But this is a no brainer. What is a better way to meet people? To spend weeks online perhaps arranging a meeting with someone who may or may not be who they claim. Or to actually um... meet them. You do the maths.

It's not all bad though. There have been particular strides in app development. The beauty of the new generation of dating apps is that many don't pretend to offer something they can't necessarily provide.

Take for example apps like Tinder. They check other users in your general location, offer a picture and some basic information and allow you to tick yes or no (or in some cases literally 'Bang, Date or Like' – I kid you not). You can flick through literally hundreds of profiles in a couple of minutes. There are options to provide and read more profile information but research so far suggests that hardly anyone is doing so.

Sure, you may send or receive a message or two, but the beauty of these apps is that they do exactly what they say on the tin. They're about having a quick, fun perve at who's around with no real expectation of a date. They're the product of an app generation that needs a quick phone based fix rather than a more reality based corollary.

But what if you really do want to meet someone? Contrary to my usual denigration of traditional dating sites, it is from this sector that dating app development is slowly showing signs of improvement. Many traditional online dating sites have a corresponding app and if you've not used them because you feel it's unnecessary due to your membership of the main site you may want to think again. Many of the site apps I've researched recently have far greater functionality than their standard forebears, and some even provide free users access to features usually only provided  to those who upgrade.

I understand that app development is king right now but I'm not sure why main sites don't incorporate such features. Unless my constant assertion that the online dating industry is in crisis is correct, and I genuinely hope it's not, it can't be a question of money or resources. Perhaps it's part of a greater conspiracy to push us to a tablet and phone dominated world (as if that's not already happening).

Either way, you'd do well to try your usual site's app. You may be pleasantly surprised.

WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS

ORIGINAL DATING IN THE PRESS
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HOW IT WORKS

The beauty of Speed Dating London lies in its no-nonsense approach. You take an equal number of single girls and guys, put them in a room and give them a few minutes to chat with every other member of the opposite sex.

When you get there

Original speed dating events in London normally begin at 7.30pm. You will need to register with our hosts and to begin with they will issue you with a score sheet. This will help you to keep track of the singles that you would like to meet again and perhaps go on a date with. After a short period of mingling, your host for the evening who will run through detailed instructions and give you your starting position if you are a guy or table for the event if you are a girl.

Meet & Mingle

A London speed dating event is split into two halves, each lasting around an hour, there will be an interval at half time of about 15 minutes for speed dating London. You will have between 4 and 5 minutes with each person, after which you need to tick a box on your score sheet - "yes, I would like to meet this person again" or "no. Thanks but no thanks". Or "friend" if you'd like to get to know them platonically. Make sure that you do this after each date to keep track. Afterwards there is an opportunity for everyone to meet and mingle informally - this is often where the real action begins, so make sure you don't disappear too quickly!

Complete your score sheet

After the event you simply tick who you liked on the Original Dating website and the site works about your matches automatically. If the dates you have ticked as a "yes" have reciprocated you have a match. You will be able to view the first names and message them via our site online without revealing your email address until you are ready to. You'll be having proper first dates in no time.