If Sex and the City taught us anything, it’s that New York City is romantically challenging for single women; they have better odds of finding a long-term companion in Silicon Valley than Silicon Alley. So it wasn’t surprising that Wednesday’s audience at Social Media Week New York’s event on digital dating was over three-quarters female.
The lively panel of online dating experts and relationship gurus showed no signs of post-Valentine’s Day advice burnout. Cosmopolitan executive editor Joyce Chang, serving as moderator, noted the vast scope of online dating: 40 million of America’s 54 million singles have tried it, and 20% of current couples met online. People spend more time being single these days, so online dating has evolved to meet their needs.
Now the practice has begun to merge with offline interaction as sites like Match.com host live events. How About We co-founder Brian Schechter said, “It’s about humanizing the experience”. For E Jean Carroll, Elle magazine’s advice columnist and matchmaker, it’s always been about personal interaction (she also co-founded Tawkify.com and Walkify.com, which sets people up via phone or to go on walks together).
Startups and apps have been gaining more traction. IAC’s Match.com bought OK Cupid two years ago. The startup’s co-founder, Sam Yagan, described his site as “offering companionship via first dates”. Its recently launched Crazy Blind Date app generated buzz since it matches users and locations for twenty minute dating encounters. How About We, another popular site, provides a stream of dating activity options to connect users.
The panelists debated the challenges of online vs. offline dating using interesting stats: