Weekend is here, care to go on a video date? Dating apps offer video chats amid coronavirus pandemic

01:18 PM Jul 11, 2020 | Prema Rajaram
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Is it a surprise that dating apps have gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown globally? People are lonely, they lack connection and meeting their family and friends are not as frequent as during normal times, thanks to social distancing. This is when dating apps come to the rescue of people, even though it is tough to meet someone in person and go on a blind date to establish a romantic relationship. Which is why video chats pave the way for sparking the romantic connection which can be taken forward post the lockdown if two people hit it off initially.

Tinder has announced its video app feature to be launched, that will soon ease the way people connect with potential romantic interests. American dating app Filter-Off already offers users a FaceTime-style format, where they get to share coronavirus lockdown stories and glimpses into other aspects of their lives.

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“I think that is why Filter-Off has really taken off during this time, because it is a video dating app and it is video speed dating first. There is no swiping, you jump on, join a dating event which could be location based like India or a global event. You can date anyone across the world, you get your date for the night and if you two like each other, you can continue the conversation post that,” says Zach Schleien, Co-Founder, Filter-Off which has grown 2,300% since COVID-19 with 5% of their user base being in India.

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Tinder set to introduce video chats feature later this year

Dating apps were once taboo in India but have now become socially accepted in some respects at least, where primarily urban youth and middle aged men and women are not shy to surf online for potential partners. There are a lot of options for people to choose from, some being Tinder, Ok Cupid, Bumble, Aisle and Filter-Off, for those who want some romance and are not ready to take the plunge to tie the knot.

“People have really accepted video as a way of dating. I am really excited in that respect. As horrible as this pandemic has been, it has collaterally pushed along the acceptance of video dating. I think that will continue as people see the efficiency of video dating. There is no way of phishing, you can see the person, see if you feel the vibe even before you meet. Speed dating on video is going to be the immediate future even after the lockdown,” adds Schleien.

Safety is a big factor when it comes to video dating. Tinder looks to allow people to video chat at a convenient time for both parties, while Filter-Off says they are adding more robust features, strict action is taken against anyone acting inappropriately and their account will be suspended. Of course, the rest lies in the judging capabilities of an individual, on who to trust and how much, whether on video chat or while meeting in person.

A counter question that can be raised is, how much to allow someone into the personal space when it comes to the initial stage of video dating? Is there already too much information being passed on? Could anything go wrong which is beyond the purview of the dating platform where strict action cannot be taken? There is always a risk, but how willing is someone to delve into the sphere of the unknown where who knows, one might just find love.

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