We hear a lot about how “online dating is broken”. But is it? Or is it the way we communicate what online dating and membership quality really is? Before the fixing begins, start ups need to understand what’s really broken, the culture. Online dating is, in many ways, just as hopeful or sad (depending on how you look at it) as real life. So in order to inspire change for the better, we need to cultivate it.
Here are 4 practical ways to encourage membership quality in Online Dating:
Create an Environment
Tinder broke the barriers to entry for casual daters’ with simplicity and ease. There is still room to create an environment that is either more fun, or engaging. Thumbs up to Loveflutter and Worthy are great examples. These two created just enough effort to dissuade unwanted behavior, yet made the process fun enough to keep me engaged. The day online dating becomes fun, like clubbing without the morning regrets, is the day online dating truly triumphs.
If offline dating events taught me anything, it’s that people need guidance. If we left a bunch of singles in a room, and eventually they’ll tear each other apart. Just look at the comments on YouTube or Twitter. Errr… Maybe not so dramatic. That is why online daters experience poor behavior, excruciating profiles, and irrationally high expectations. People’s first instinct is to seek familiarity and security in an insecure environment. One way I was able to improve participation and interaction at my events was providing a host. If social start-ups, such as Dipify, succeed in becoming a host or a friend, users could be more responsive and positive towards each other. Games anyone?
Work on Communication
Tinder, for example was made a media darling as a hook-up app. It seems almost unfair to demonize somebody looking for a Tinder hook-up. Most free dating apps are very vague in what they want to accomplish — neither encourages nor discouraged any sort of behavior. To settle things, somebody should just come up with an online dating app (just like Tinder) for serious relationships, or the same app strictly for hook-ups— enforced by their own respective policies. People will eventually gravitate towards what works for them. I imagine many would utilize both apps.
Start with Marketing
Marketing is the blood of online dating— The trend being to stir up some controversy for the press. But there is light in the end of the tunnel. I found Tinder in Bangkok, of all places, boasts many reputable men and women seeking honest friendships. The way Thais adopt new technology is strongly based on referral. Without the local press painting it as a hot new hookup app, Tinder has a lot less ick moments than local dating sites. I wonder how long that lasts.
It essence, it doesn’t take fancy gimmicks for start-ups to inspire membership quality; it takes a stronger effort to communicate what membership quality is. “Membership quality” is cultivated in Frat Houses, Sundays services and real life experiences, and works accordingly. If start-ups want to build a better community of [blank], they should say so, and market to so.
Do you have ideas to improve online dating? I’d like to hear it @derekonomy.