In a COVID world, we are fortunate to have access to apps and technology that allow us to keep in touch with our friends, family and loved ones. However, while the world has witnessed rapid digital evolution, can it effectively replicate a realistic and intimate dating experience?
What is video dating?
Video dating is a relatively new term in the dating world. As the name suggests, video dating is a type of dating that takes place online through the use of a video sharing device, such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even TV. popular platforms that support video dating include:
And even social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
Is video dating here to stay?
Since COVID-19 brought in extreme limitations to who we see and when in the UK, the demand for everything online increased. Even without the presence of COVID forcing us into our homes, the trajectory for online communications and virtual dating was already gathering pace, COVID simply accelerated it.
Today in the UK, video (or virtual dating) has become a rather large branch of the online dating tree, a stark contrast to only a decade ago, where the idea of finding love online may have been attributed to desperation and other negative stigmas. However, as we grew into a more digitally-dependent age, the introduction of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices with video functionality, became an essential form of intimate connectivity across the world. Facetime, Skype, Zoom and even Whatsapp all now include video call functionality to allow users to view and communicate with each other in real-time. Couple this with online dating apps and you have a basic recipe for video dating.
How has COVID impacted online video dating?
When our freedom to meet our matches in real life was put on pause, we were forced to adapt, and many people turned to online video dating. However, despite the valiant efforts of online dating apps being able to match us with people in the same city (or further afield), they will always be restricted to virtual communication. Dating apps are designed for people to vet one another before committing to a real-world meetup, they are generally not designed to create or sustain a traditional relationship.
Yes, COVID has certainly increased the stocks and shares of dating apps and increased the use of online video dating. However, for many, online dating simply doesn’t capture the same levels of intimacy or romantic serendipity of sitting across a table at a candlelit bar in Mayfair. When restrictions are lifted, people will be flooding the restaurants, pubs and bars to experience that irreplaceable and inimitable intimacy of a physical date experience.
So, will more first date introductions now take place online?
For the moment, yes, because of current circumstances. The way I see it, video and virtual dating are never going to replace dating because unless you’re catfishing, there’s only a certain amount of time people can go without meeting face-to-face. Instead, video dating should be viewed as a temporary alleviator to face-to-face dating.
Are there limitations that come with video dating?
Intimacy is by far the most difficult concept to replicate when it comes to video dating. Despite valiant efforts to chat with and entertain your date through an array of filters and justifications for poor internet connection (however charming you may sound), video dating simply can’t compete with the classic first date experience.
Everything from noticing your dates little idiosyncrasies, their posture, body language, tone and even being able to buy the next round, these small perks are lost through the restrictions of the lens.
However, video dating, despite its intimacy restrictions, does have a place in today’s dating world, especially in cases of long-distance relationships, and of course, pandemics!
Alleviating awkwardness and sparking a memorable introduction
For some people, video dating is a fantastic way to introduce yourself and get to know your date in a safe, accessible and non-invasive environment. First dates are always nervy, and for some people, the idea of meeting someone new for the first time (especially in a potentially romantic sense) can cause them to act out of character or just make them feel a bit uncomfortable.
With video dating, however, I’d argue that the awkwardness is minimised and the accessibility is increased, which is important for many. We’ve actually written an article on video dating etiquette to help you feel more comfortable in this new dating format.
Being able to jump on a date from your bedroom, kitchen or living room is an appealing prospect for many, especially when they literally have no other choice to meet new people. Confidence issues may also be alleviated knowing that you can dive out of the video call at any minute, should you need to. This could also be seen as an ideal solution to introduce socially anxious people to potential partners.
Sure, awkwardness always looms over a first date, and video might present its own challenges; namely speaking over each other due to connection issues. But that’s part of the charm; awkwardness is inevitable on a first date and if the connection is there (the emotional connection, not the WiFi), then that awkwardness can act as an icebreaker.
According to Logan Ury, director of relationship science at Hinge, treating a first date over a video call like a job interview isn’t the best way to truly get to know someone. Instead, video dating should be used as an alternative to getting to know someone, to introduce yourself, to get to know the person on the other side of the screen and their experiences through this strange world we currently live in. And it’s important to remember that this isn’t a one-way exchange, video dating is new to everyone, it’s likely you’ll both feel a bit awkward at the start, but that’s okay, it’s simply part of the process.
As Ury puts it:
“Use this moment as an opportunity to really get to know someone, not to trade bullet points from your résumés,” she says. “What are they excited about right now? What’s keeping them up at night? Have they tried any new recipes? What are they most looking forward to doing with their friends when it’s safe to meet up?”
Does video dating allow us to be safer about who we meet?
As briefly stated before, video dating offers the opportunity to allow users to vet someone (as much as one reasonably can) before they meet them in person. Unlike popular dating apps such as Tinder, Hinge, Grindr and Bumble, video dating allows for a less static and more honest representation of the person on the other side of the screen.
As you’ve probably already guessed, video dating also alleviates the threat of people being catfished, an activity that has long plagued online dating.
The good news is that safety regarding online dating, in general, has been tackled and handled well by leading online spaces and social platforms. Reddit’s AMA feature, Twitter’s secure verification process and several popular dating apps now require you to sign in to use them. Certain apps like Hinge, Tinder and Bumble ask you to log into Facebook, Instagram or demand an email address or phone number to confirm your identity – thus, cracking down on fake accounts. Alongside this, always be sure to take the necessary precautions when meeting up with someone for the first time. For example, tell your friends where you’ll be and consider meeting in an open, public space.
In essence, video dating adds another string to the bow of unmasking fraudsters and catfishers online. It eliminates fake profiles and fake people through face-to-face communication, laying rest to any risks or worries concerning anonymity.
Does video dating have a life after COVID passes?
While video dating will certainly never replace traditional, real-life dating, some would argue it still has a place in modern dating and there are a few reasons for this.
Maybe as restrictions and social distancing ease, people will still be wary about who they do and don’t meet up with, or COVID aside, people may simply prefer to get to know someone through a lens before agreeing to meet in person. It makes sense in many ways, maybe the person they matched with lives far away, maybe they suffer from social anxiety, or maybe they just feel more comfortable getting to know someone in the comfort of their own home.
Whatever the future of video dating is, there’s a strong possibility it’ll have a place in how we chat, communicate and engage with potential partners. The romance side, well, that’s up to you.
Considering an entirely new dating experience?
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