Navigating the world of online dating apps is a special kind of hell. It’s especially daunting for those over a certain age. It’s just not a world that the over-50 demographic wants to participate in. The thing is, that as much as that demographic longs for a world in which we met IRL more than online, that’s just not the world we’re operating in right now. So here comes Lumen, a Tinder-like dating app aimed at the over-50 demographic with some features that should assuage the concerns put forth by its contemporaries.
I’m not going to use the word “seniors” outside this sentence. I’m going to be 50 someday and I don’t want to be called that. I prefer “experienced” or “seasoned”. Regardless, the dating apps aimed at older demographics are stale and full of lies. I know several men-of-a-certain-age who lie about their age on these apps, using pictures from two decades ago. It’s never healthy to begin any relationship with a fistful of lies. Mushrooms and cheese — yes. Lies — no.
Those lies are the biggest concern when this older dating group gets into online dating. While there are apps with memberships like eHarmony that take more care to vet its members, let’s assume that we’re talking about tech savvy folk who want to find a dating platform that doesn’t feel like shopping for sweater vests. Lumen has that feel of Tinder, Bumble, etc., but works hard to maintain that comfortable security of a turtleneck sweater with those weird elbow patches.
“The majority of single over-50s we know are tech-savvy, active, and looking for their next adventure. But this isn’t the reality we see reflected in the dating industry,” says Antoine Argouges, Lumen CEO. “Lumen finally provides a contemporary solution which over-50s can rely on to meet like-minded people.”
That solution starts with features like only being able to start a limited number of conversations every day, in order to cut down on spammy behavior. Messages also disappear after 72 hours if there is no reply. This puts the focus on quality conversation instead of just some random one word greeting and the expectation of quantity over quality.
Every user must have at least one image of themselves and upon sign-up every user is photo-verified. The verification photo doesn’t appear in the user profile (unless the user deems it worthy) but is used to vet out catfish traps and more spam. In addition to the minimum age for using Lumen being 50, the minimum icebreaker message must be at least 50 characters so no “hi”, “sup” or “yo”.
These are the types of changes that make Lumen a more accessible app, ensuring a bit more trust in the dating app world than other apps. There is no nudity allowed, easy blocking and reporting for inappropriate behavior and no photo messaging is allowed. Again, this keeps all that bad behavior on the bench and fosters an app experience that focuses more on the connections and users’ ability to communicate without texting a picture of their aging genitals.
The oldest current user of the 1.3mm Lumen users worldwide (as of August 2019) is 97. The average user age is 56. The gender ratio is nearly 50/50 (when only considering female/male, even though all genders are accepted). Members can join groups based on interests like travel, sports, home and garden, food and drink and so on through Lumen’s social features. There is also a premium version that allows for more conversations per day and seeing which members have saved the user as a favorite and enhanced search.
The focus of Lumen is quality conversation in a dating app aimed squarely at the tech savvy over-50 group of humans. This demographic needs verification, trust and actual conversation. The business of dating is a muddled, frustrating universe and this age group doesn’t have time to be mucking around with a bunch of kids who don’t know how to have conversations. Lumen is available on Android and Apple iOS.