As the old saying goes: we see faces, we don’t know hearts. Or what is the same, not all that glitters is gold. However, when it comes to an online dating app, making the decision to swipe right or left almost always has to do with a quick judgment based on appearance.
That shallowness is killing a lot of singles, says Adam Cohen Aslatei, former head of gay dating app Chappy and founder of a new dating app called S’More. Or at least, he clarifies, prevents many from being able to find love.
“Everyone thinks they know what they want, but they are all still single,” says Cohen Aslatei.
S’More – which is free on iOS – blurs the profile picture of its users, forcing them to focus, from the outset, on the interests listed in the profiles. If something resonates – like education, current mood, a voicemail, or even the star sign – you can wink at that specific feature of the other person’s profile. The more you interact with the other person, the less blurry the photo looks.
At some point, you will be allowed to send a message. The person on the other end will not be able to open the message until they have reviewed your profile and liked some of your features. Plus, S’More only shows you up to five profiles a day.
This change in processes compared to typical online dating apps could lead to more meaningful interactions between users — at least that’s what Cohen Aslatei hopes.
Although physical attraction is often the strongest indicator among date seekers, there might be something to the idea that personality details could affect attraction, explained Paul Eastwick, a professor in the department of psychology at the University of California Davis.
“Because you learn these other things about someone – the literature they read, the movies they watch – these things that you find attractive have consistency for you,” Eastwick said. Those kinds of details can affect how attractive you find someone else.
Online dating currently occupies an uncomfortable weight on the balance sheet of modern life. They have become increasingly popular – information from the Pew Research Center released a few days ago shows that 30 percent of adults in the United States have ever used online dating, which is double compared to four years ago . Despite everything, the complaints are rampant in every way, from the difficulty of getting a match with another person, to the prevalence of the so-called ghosting (which is when the other person just disappears without replying to messages or anything).
Survey Monkey questioned 4,000 adults and found that 56 percent of those surveyed have somewhat poor or very poor views of online dating, and that perception was fairly consistent across age and gender ranges.
And yet there are signs that it does work. A 2019 study done at Stanford University found that 39 percent of heterosexual couples who met in 2017 did so online, and that number increased to 65 percent for gay couples.
Cohen Aslatei knows that physical attraction is impossible to ignore, and S’More takes personal preferences into account. So if a user winks at a feature that is listed, such as brown eyes, the algorithm takes note.
“We are not saying that physical attraction does not matter, but it ends up being used as the main filtration mechanism, which leaves many potential people out,” he explained.
Another way that S’More distinguishes itself from many dating apps is by requiring that all members be verified by taking a selfie that matches two other photos they have uploaded, Cohen Aslatei said. An algorithm also looks out for potentially abusive or inappropriate behavior within chats and asks users if the person they are talking to is friendly and courteous. People who get better ratings see more profiles of people with similar ratings. When too many red flags are found, it may run out of the app.
For now, S’More was launched in Boston, New York, and Washington DC The company has plans to open in Chicago and Los Angeles in the next few weeks. Cohen Aslatei said the waiting list already reaches 15,000.
“It’s a discovery process,” he explained, “which is really what a relationship is about.”
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