How to Fix Dating Apps — Part 1

I can’t prove there’s a storm a-comin’ of folks coming up with new dating apps, but the consensus I hear is that the current way they work are frustrating and above all else can be a huge time-suck. Either you’re wasting time going out on dates with people you don’t feel that “connection” with or you’re trolling around looking at pictures when you could be doing something more productive.

But very recently, OKCupid, arguably the market leader in that sector, came out with CrazyBlindDate that circumvents profile-building and -strengthening and instead lets you “just meet someone. Meet someone quickly.” It’s intended as a more light-hearted strain of dating, to just have fun, and you can take that however you wish.

Here’s how it works: You pick what days you’re free, what places in your city you like to go to and you’ll get an IM an hour before when the date things you should date a mystery person. Personal information is scrambled on both ends, so, you can’t really make out each other’s faces. All you know is this is someone of the gender you desire to be with who is also available. Have fun!

Whether it’s intended as a goof or is something OKCupid is seriously wanting to delve in (and Humor Rainbow, Inc., the company behind OKCupid has been stretching its legs lately: See, Combosaurus, now in public beta), it shows that even the giants are rethinking dating apps. Over a couple of posts, I’ll be exploring what some feel are ways newcomers can improve the game overall.

“The big deal about dating apps and websites is they allow for a lot of
dishonesty,” says Dr. Craig Brown, a consultant in the IT industry. “The new apps should provide a way to Facetime the person right through the app... You can also have some sense of security that the person is single if they are talking to you from their bedroom or from their kitchen and not from the garage or the closet.”

I actually think this is a super-great idea — an actual use for Facetime outside of its usual demographic: New grandparents calling their children to see the new grandkids.

I think, also, part of the issue here comes down to safety. Either you’re willing to trust total strangers you met through a free service won’t kidnap and murder you — a common joke on first dates among Internet daters — or you’re not.

Stay tuned for more tips, and hopefully together we’ll be a rising tide for dating apps. What a weird thing to say, but it’s totally true here! 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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