#onlinedating | Inside the numbers: coronavirus and online dating | #bumble | #tinder | #pof

Social distancing measures dictate that no two people should stand closer than six feet apart, which makes traditional dating almost impossible. From the start of this pandemic’s stay-at-home orders, virtual dating became more common.

Aimed toward members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the dating app, Mutual, allows users to swipe up or down on another user’s profile based on their interest. If both users swipe up, they match.

“I started using Mutual in 2019, but (I) never got a match,” said Dallin Durrett, a senior studying communication. “My first match actually happened last semester when school got canceled for a week because of the coronavirus.”

Since quarantine began nationwide, Durrett feels like Mutual was the best way to meet people while in isolation.

The popularity of Mutual during quarantine increased significantly, Mutual founder and President Cooper Boice told Scroll.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Boice said that users already on the app were doing a lot more swiping and matching. In addition, people were joining Mutual at an increasing rate before the pandemic.

“We saw the amount of swiping double, 15% more people signed up, and the number of matches happening each day went up by 23%,” said Boice.

The spike in the number of users and swipes led the company of Mutual to hire more employees to focus on new aspects of the app in a shorter amount of time. This includes a new feature “coming out soon” according to Boice.

“It will be actually helpful as people get stuck at home again,” Boice said. “Now, I think, hopefully in most places, the quarantine is ending. But I guess if there was like another wave, hopefully by then we’d have something rolled out that would make it even easier to date through the app.”

Another change Boice has seen over recent months is users being willing to go on dates with those that live farther away.

“If you’re gonna date virtually, you know, Skype call (or) doing whatever you can to video chat and that sort of thing, why not match with people that are across the country or in other countries,” Boice said.

Boice explained that in regards of Mututal‘s success during the pandemic, the company’s ultimate goal is for successful temple marriages, an extra challenge while temples remain mostly closed. Yet, past users continue to send in wedding pictures to Mutual headquarters, featuring the significant other they met on the app.

“We get people that reach out to us all the time and just kind of send us wedding pictures and that sort of thing,” Boice said. “It’s been fun to get some of the coronavirus wedding pictures where everybody’s wearing masks.”

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