IN THE NOT-SO-DISTANT future, it will no doubt be commonplace for a father to lean over and tell his kid, “It’s true, Junior, I knew she was the one as soon as I swiped right.”
As dating-app giants—from Tinder to Match to Hinge—evolve, they continue to amass users and facilitate relationships. Tinder’s brazen “Super Like” feature is the digital equivalent of walking over to a stranger at a party to compliment them, and, according to the app, leads to 70% longer conversations.
Meanwhile Facebook showed up late to the dating-app party with little to offer except its reach. With its launch of Facebook Dating, the social-media stalwart seems to be banking on its more than 1.5 billion active daily users, instead of, say, radical innovation or insightful use of its data. Its research did reveal that “40% of online daters don’t feel that there’s a dating app out there that meets their needs,” according to a spokesperson for the platform.
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Would you use Facebook’s dating feature? Why or why not?
Facebook kept it (possibly too) simple. The extension is built into your existing app: Just click the lines at the bottom of your screen, select Dating and “Get Started.” Your dating resume is super easy to set up as it largely repurposes your Facebook profile for its foundation. From there you can add basics like an “about me” blurb, your age, height, job, education and “Lifestyle,” which is oddly based solely on whether or not you have kids.
What you can’t easily jot down is your aim, the most crucial part of a dating profile, said sex and relationships coach Shelby Sells. “Not everyone is on there for the same reasons. Some people want a casual hookup, others are looking for romance.” So jumping in may be simple, said Ms. Sells, but Facebook Dating requires extra effort to be successful.
For now, Facebook Dating feels bare-bones and aimless. It presents you with randomly selected (but geographically relevant) profiles on a home screen and you either reject or “heart” them. Users can “Like” and comment on specific parts of the profile, but without message timestamps or delivery receipts, you won’t know if your note was properly sent. Matches can send GIFs, but not images. So no nudes, bros.
Don’t worry: The app won’t try to match you with Facebook friends, necessitating awkward rejections. However, its curious “Secret Crush” function lets you anonymously dote on existing connections. If the flirtation is mutual, both users get alerts.
Who might like Facebook Dating? The subset of users largely forgotten in the dating app space—unsavvy, hesitant types who never dared to start swiping. Its simple setup is unintimidating. And thanks to Facebook restrictions, users are unlikely to find porn bots while on the hunt. Still, it’s not exactly appealing to receive dating notifications alongside alerts that your aunt just posted fresh pics of her poodle.
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