How technology has changed the dating game
Every February 14, the prices for chocolates and flowers skyrocket, and restaurants tend to be full with couples looking for a romantic evening. Some singles may feel left out of the celebration, but with so many dating sites and apps, the new “swipe” culture makes it easier to find a partner or mate in an instant.
In 1995, Match.com became the first major online dating site in existence. In 2009 and 2010, respectively, the dating apps Grindr and Scruff were launched. Both apps were commonly used by the gay community, which helped connect users – single men in a specific geographic radius. In 2012, now the dating app giant, Tinder was introduced to the world and quickly became one of the most popular dating apps today. Tinder has started the “swipe” trend where users find matches by swiping their finger left or right on their mobile phone.
Since then, there has been a plethora of dating apps developed like Bumble, OkCupid, and Paktor. Even Facebook jumped on the dating apps bandwagon and released Facebook Dating in 2018. Some apps even cater to specific target markets such as Minder which is similar to Tinder but for Muslims. The dating market is estimated to be worth around $ 12 billion worldwide.
According to Tinder co-founder and Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe, dating apps have become great tools for meeting new people. Most of the time, social media is used to stay in touch with those who are already around, while dating apps are expanding user networks to various types of people, at a very rapid rate. Ng Jing Shen, co-founder of Paktor, a Singapore-based dating app, claimed that by “spending 10 minutes on a toilet bowl swiping over potential matches, you are essentially” meeting “more new people than you are. might not do it in a year “.
Dating apps are also breaking down barriers and changing social norms. An example of this is Bumble – which only allows females to start a conversation with the man they’ve been matched with on the app. “Traditionally, in real life, women would not have taken the plunge. They usually don’t because society says it’s not the right way to do it and society judges them for it, ”explained Wolfe. In the United States and Europe, online dating has also become inclusive for the LGBTQ community, like Her, an app for lesbians and bisexuals. It has also been reported that 70 percent of gay men in America meet online.
ASEAN countries are not far behind when it comes to online dating. Local sites and apps such as Paktor from Singapore and Noonswoon from Thailand are some of the must-see dating apps in the region. Nonetheless, despite the growing number of dating apps available in Southeast Asia, online dating has historically been frowned upon, especially in conservative countries like Brunei and Indonesia. Tinder initially didn’t even include Asia as a target market, as premarital sex and “sex culture” are strongly condemned by society.
Nonetheless, in recent years, dating apps have still managed to find their way into ASEAN, especially among busy executives who prefer a faster way to meet people than the traditional tedious approach. In 2019, Singaporeans spent US $ 7.1 million on dating apps, an increase from US $ 5 million in 2018 and US $ 3.9 million in 2017, while Malaysians and Indonesians spent spent approximately US $ 5.8 million on dating apps.
Paktor has grown into one of the largest dating apps in Asia and has 15 million users in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. The team found that the effective methods used by Western dating apps did not translate as well in Asian societies due to their more conservative dating standards. Paktor differentiated itself by drawing on its knowledge of the local culture and people. For example, they introduced features such as Paktor group chats which provide an environment to facilitate discussions within a collective community. According to Joshua Phua, the co-founder of Paktor, Asians prefer meeting other users in groups first, rather than a more intimate one-on-one date.
Apart from that, Peekawoo from the Philippines made headlines in 2014 with their unique approach to online dating. It has been described as a female friendly dating app that emphasizes safety and quality. It was reported that at one point they even offered chaperone services to users to avoid any monkey activity from their matches. However, the company’s current status is uncertain as their site appears to have been down since 2018.
Despite these innovative approaches to ASEAN’s own dating apps, Tinder is still a leader in Southeast Asia. In 2019, Tinder announced plans to focus on “emerging markets” by reshuffling its management team in the Asia-Pacific region. It was also reported that Tinder is working on a lite version of its flagship app with the aim of attracting more users in Asia.
The wonders of technology are priceless. Just last year, a Malaysian was sentenced to five years in prison for deceiving and deceiving a 68,000 SGD (US $ 48,000) woman by posing as a money merchant named “Daniel” on a dating app. In December 2018, a British backpacker, Grace Millane, was killed by a man in Auckland, New Zealand, after they met on Tinder. There have been many cases of rape, fraud, voyeurism, and other dating app related crimes over the years.
Do Dating Apps Work To Build Successful Relationships? Media reports claim that a significant number of marriages and unions happen because of dating apps and sites. Technology has opened the way for strangers to network and fall in love. The potential matches on dating apps seem limitless, despite the many flaws that come with it. On a positive note, it is believed that 30% of relationships will start online by 2026.
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