Why Online Dating Is Broken

As a technology entrepreneur, I believe that technology should be used to disrupt the status quo and replace archaic processes. One landscape that technology has really changed over the last two decades is dating.

Online dating started in the mid-90s with the first real big player being Match.com. Over the next few years, a number of other dating sites would pop up such as eHarmony and try to capitalize on this new phenomenon of meeting people online. Many of the early online dating sites were considerably expensive to join.

Online dating took a unique turn when social networks started popping up such as friendster and Myspace. People could meet potential boyfriends or girlfriends online, without going to a site dedicated to the cause.

Up until a few years ago, the individuals who met others on dating sites such as eHarmony or Match.com tended to be of a slightly older demographic, while the individuals who met others on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter tended to be of a slightly younger demographic.

This all changed when dating apps like Tinder came out. Tinder was marketed towards a significantly younger demographic and sold to customers on the experience of casually meeting new people new versus trying to find your soul mate, like a lot of the older dating sites aimed to do. For the first time, it was socially acceptable for young twenty something’s to use a dating app.

I started using Tinder in 2013 when I was 23, which was the first dating app I have ever used. Before Tinder, the majority of the time I met women while out on the town or occasionally on Facebook. I thought dating apps were for older dudes who were looking to settle down and get married.

I was introduced to Tinder by my friend Chris. He had a Facebook profile picture of him flexing his biceps with big bold letters written “Right Swipe” (which is actually referred to as “Swipe Right”). He had a bunch of picture comments of women saying they’d right swipe him. I asked him what the hell a right swipe was and he told me all about Tinder and how cool it was. I figured it was worth downloading it and giving it a shot.

Over the last few years, I’ve met quite a few girls on Tinder, as well as social networks such as Facebook and Instagram in a variety of capacities (dating, hookups, relationship, etc.). Technology has made it easier for most people I know including myself to meet people.

Although online dating has worked for me quite well, I have noticed some very fundamental flaws with online dating.

1. Picture Profiles

If you haven’t experienced it, you must have at least heard someone say, “He/she looked better online”. When creating a profile online, you always want to put your best foot forward, this is completely normal. However there are people who take manipulative photos by leveraging certain angles or use photos of completely different people, this is called “catfishing”.

Catfishing is definitely a problem with online dating today. I have had several friends who have been catfished before. When meeting people by only viewing static images, not through a face-to-face means, it’s a risk you always take.

2. Text Based Conversations

If you’ve never met someone online, just know that the process is very text based until you eventually meet in person. You send static text messages through whatever messaging app you’re using, and once you exchange numbers, you usually continue the conversations via text messages. I mean you can give them a call, but for whatever reason most milienails these days believe that is strange.

The problem with this is that you can waste weeks texting a person and once you finally meet, there is little to talk about or there is really no connection in real life. It’s really hard to have a meaningful conversation strictly through text based conversations.

3. The Ability To Hide Behind A Screen

The ability to hide behind a screen causes people to say things to others that they wouldn’t normally say to their face. I even admit that I have done this before. I may have sent an extremely cheesy or forward pickup line to a woman that I may have been too embarrassed to have said in person, but I never cross the line and say something disrespectful.

However, not everyone feels the same way and each day there are millions of women and men who receive very disrespectful and degrading messages. It’s very unfortunate when this happens and no one deserves to have this happen to them.

What you can do

Although online dating has its flaws, it’s still an effective way to meet people if you don’t have other means to do so, or if you simply don’t have the time.

Just be aware of the flaws and possibility of being catfished. Do your best to not go too long without meeting the person for coffee or lunch. Be forward about meeting because the sooner you meet, the sooner you can start authentic and meaningful conversations.

Also there is a pretty cool brand new dating app that just launched called Wudup, which is available on the Apple app store. It’s like Tinder except instead of swiping through profile pictures, you are actually connected via a short 30 second face-to-face video chat and after the video chat is over you can choose to talk the person further. It’s like speed dating on your iPhone.

Lastly, if you just want to give up on online dating altogether, just do it the old fashion way. Meet someone at a coffee shop, a bar, the library or whatever else tickles your fancy. It may be a little old fashioned, but heck, it’s definitely still effective ;)