From the days of meeting partners on Match.com to swiping as quick as you can on apps like Bumble and Tinder, online dating expert Julie Spira, based in Los Angeles, says the dating industry now potentially has a big competitor. Ther are more than 100 million singles on the social media site.
“I believe Facebook’s announcement does give more credibility to the dating industry as a whole, and validates the way people date, by looking for love online. Plus, they have access to an enormous amount of data, which I hope will be used in a positive way to make good matches.”
“Online dating sites will continue to work hard to provide new features to help make better matches,” she continues. “It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with room for many sites to succeed.”
Is the field too crowded?
Bumble, another popular dating app focused on swiping left or right, allows women to message men first in a 24-hour period. In the news of Facebook’s latest venture, a spokesperson for Bumble Canada tells Global News the company is thrilled with this change.
“Our executive team has already reached out to Facebook to explore ways to collaborate. Perhaps Bumble and Facebook can join forces to make the connecting space even more safe and empowering.”
On Thursday, dating app happn (which uses a location-based algorithm to find matches) released a statement stating that Facebook’s interest in the market is a strong signal about how relevant online dating is.
“We are surprised by the timing Facebook has chosen to announce its new ambition to enter the dating space given the controversy that has recently surrounded the company, and the fact that what is related to dating and an interpersonal relationship is strictly intimate and private,” the statement said. “As an independent player in the sector, happn will continue its growth and will strengthen its position worldwide.”
Tinder has not responded to an interview request with Global News.
Phases of online dating
Dr. Jess Carbino, who is also Bumble’s in-house sociologist, tells Global News online dating has evolved in two phases.
First, there were the original dating websites like Match.com and eHarmony in the 1990s, where people had a limited amount of options in whom they could and couldn’t connect with. Online dating and the idea of meeting strangers from the web was more taboo, but at the end, Carbino says the end goal was the same: connection.
“Then you have the rise of apps like Bumble, Tinder and Hinge. You get better matches and break social barriers.”
Carbino, who has been studying online dating trends, says the second phase (and the phase we’re still in) is the rise of apps through mobile devices. This includes using apps for not only finding love, but hook-ups and friends. In turn, this means more people are using apps and the social stigma that once existed is fading away.
And as sites like Grindr or Tinder have been dubbed as hook-up online sites, Carbino suggests attitudes by users, on apps like Bumble at least, have changed. Most people want to find a partner or spouse.
“As a result of singles embracing these apps, we saw many new services being created with swiping capabilities helping singles match more quickly,” Spria adds. “I believe it’s more likely that Facebook will reach an older demographic, and the millennials will keep using dating apps, but as stated in their announcement, you must opt-in to the service and you won’t automatically be a member of their dating portal. While you won’t be matched with a ‘friend’ on Facebook, you could still easily be matched with a co-worker, or even an ex for that matter.”
Online dating fatigue
But more apps or platforms also means more options, and often, this can lead to dating burnout or dating fatigue. Carbino says in this day and age, dating fatigue means shutting down an app or not swiping for weeks or months, when in the past, people would stop going to bars or club or asking friends to set them up.
“Most of my clients and singles that I work with are already on more than one dating site and app. Online dating has become a social dating experience,” Spira adds.
She adds fatigue happens when people need time-outs and whichever platform or app you use, it comes down to how much effort you want to put towards meeting someone.
“Fatigue is a temporary state singles experience after a series of bad dates, or emails they don’t feel are a good match. It usually results with singles rejoining after a break, as it’s clear that online dating is really just dating and if you’re single, you’ll reactivate your profile when it’s ready to take it seriously.”