Category Archives: Liquid Love

Speed Dating with Surgical Masks

In 1998, an Orthodox Rabbi and his wife invented a new form of dating technology for young Jewish singles to meet and find a partner. Dubbed speed dating, Rabbi Yaacov Deyo was well beyond his time, as this formalized matchmaking process is still in use today. A Japanese dating service has recently adopted the model with a tiny twist; the participants wear surgical masks during the three-minute dating sessions, focusing on one’s personality rather than looks.

The facemasks, more often worn to avoid catching disease, proved a big success among the participants, who found they were more ‘outgoing’ with them on. “Since I wasn’t judged by my appearance, I think I was able to be more outgoing with women,” said 28-year-old Yasumasu Kishi. Dating services are hot topic in Japan, as Japanese millennials raised in the digital society dread face-to-face encounters, while simultaneously long working hours have effect on the Japanese remaining unmarried. Therefore konkatsu, –active “marriage seeking activity”– is considered a virtuous option.

According to a national survey conducted by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in 2014, the marriage rate has plunged by 50 percent over the last 40 years, from 10,1 per thousand in 1975 to 5,1 per thousand in 2014. Since 2009, similar events take place for otako –which roughly translates to geeks. During the marriage hunt sessions, participants wear masks that depict popular characters from anime or manga, turning it to a kind of masked ball for geeks.

Source: Reuters

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A Wedding Crowdfunding Campaign

Modern families are now turning to crowdfunding websites to help pay for their weddings. There are even special platforms for it, like CrowdedWedding and WedAndGo. However, keeping in mind that crowdfunding sites initially started as charity fundraising websites, you might gain mixed feelings about your wedding inquiry. Therefore SwanLuv proposed a new system in 2015, and here’s why it failed.

Since 2010, over 1.500 wedding-related campaigns were launched on crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com. While it never provided fundraising totals, more than 16.000 donors helped contribute to provide couples the day (or night) they would never forget. Not long after gaining viral status, the Internet responded to the matter, criticizing the commodification of frailty bonds. Then SwanLuv happened.

In December 2015, a young startup company started accepting applications from couples that thought to have found everlasting love. The company promised a $10.000 loan, with one little catch; in case of divorce, the newly-weds had to refund the money –with interest. While it seemed SwanLuv would profit of the doomed marriages, it was the company itself that ended up broken hearted.

On Valentine’s Day, SwanLuv officially launched, and some wondered whether the company’s promise was too good to be true. Turns out, it was. Due to “overwhelming demand,” SwanLuv turned their business model around and launched as a wedding crowdfunding website instead, in which couples were to raise the money themselves.

SwanLuv CEO Scott Avy once referred to their platform as “a casino for marriage” in which algorithm software determines the interest rate, based on the capability score of their relationship. As it turns out, Avy himself took a gamble, but it didn’t turn out as he had calculated, making him walk the aisle of shame.

Source: GeekWire

The Dating Apocalypse

In our current understanding of hook-up culture there is not much space left for love. Our matches are being algorithmically determined and we decide if there is a “click” by swiping left or right. When it comes to sexual behavior and values, there seems to be an increasingly common attitude of “anything goes,” and somewhere along the way we started separating boyfriend material from hook-up material. Therefore Hinge is declaring war to swipe culture.

In September 2015, Vanity Fair ran an article that advocated the dawn of dating –or romance, as we know it– inspiring Hinge to re-launch their service for serious relationships aiming at millennials. The article is structured around Tinder, which is the most popular dating app to date thanks to its gamification element. The swipe is often characterized as the determining element of dating apps, wherein the swipe itself is just as fun as having a conversation with one of your matches.

Hinge is now ready to flaunt their service that treats dating not as a game, but as serious business, which as such, requires investment. The company explained in an email to current users that their accounts will automatically upgrade to a free trial of the new premium relationship app –not dating app– while the older service is taken down. Until then Hinge is running a campaign that shares data they compiled through their internal surveys of users in August 2016.

A study from the University of Sydney examined the online dating habits of 365 millennial users, and found almost three quarters of users “were just as inclined to seek a monogamous relationship since taking their search for love online.” Lead author Dr. Mitchell Hobbs said dating platforms are only as conducive to casual sex or real love as its users are. “The technology thrives because it is useful, and will die when it no longer offers pathways to connect and communicate that are advantageous to users.”

By removing the “fun” element of swiping and the payment of a monthly fee, Hinge aims to provide its users a clear alternative in their search for real relationships, rather than facilitating hookups. However, a younger demographic may not respond well to this.

Source: Forbes