What Can an Online Dating Coach Do for You?

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Over video, chat and text — though rarely IRL — digital dating coaches help you create a more attractive online profile, decipher your date’s cryptic text message and boost your confidence after an unsuccessful Tinder fling.

These are not substitutes for a licensed therapist, but they’re convenient. “We strive for instant gratification,” said Liron Shapira, 30, the co-founder of a chat-based Silicon Valley start-up called Relationship Hero. “We give 24-7 service. If you want advice at 4 a.m., you can get it.”

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Business or Pleasure?

A peach emoji nestling into a folder emoji.

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Peers of mine had experienced both men and women “sliding” into their DMs on LinkedIn with more personal than professional goals in mind. One friend made what she thought was a professional connection in real life that led to a LinkedIn connection. Then she got an ambiguous message suggesting they get drinks to help “build the connection.” One friend met someone out at a bar one night and was later contacted by him on LinkedIn based off only a first name. Potential daters love as much information at their fingertips as possible, and app developers, who treat dating and networking like two sides of the same social media coin, have found big business in gathering that data.

So what’s behind the rise of career apps and dating apps that look almost identical to each other? It’s all about being forced to actively market ourselves to stand out in a hyper-competitive crowd. Work for millennials is a very different experience than it was for most of our parents or grandparents. We live in a gig economy. We stay at a job for shorter amounts of time, our email is almost always on, and independent contract work is on the rise. This economy creates a growing pressure for new professionals to learn how to sell themselves, to turn their skills and themselves into a single, coherent package someone will want to buy (or at least contract out).

You Up? College in the Age of Tinder

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Dating apps may have killed the college dating scene. Because it’s so easy to swipe left or right on a seemingly endless pile of potential partners, it’s become harder to actually meet anyone. As students, we are told over and over that college is a time for us to expand our social groups, to meet new people and grow into adults. But the indecisiveness that is built into dating app culture can stunt us — we’re trapped in an endless cycle of swipes! Commitment, already a scary concept to many, becomes even more difficult with the false illusion that the dating possibilities are endless.

Frankly, dating apps can also just make things incredibly awkward.

While single students at Mercer University use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, Snapchat reigns as the most eye-roll-eliciting app for sparking college romance. To know if Brian is interested in a serious relationship or a casual fling, read the time stamp on his flirtatious Snapchat message. The same Snap asking to “hang out” sent at 2 p.m. can have a completely different meaning when sent at 2 a.m.

The New Dating Requirement: Consuming All of Your Partner’s #Content

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Declaring your relationship on Facebook used to be enough to solidify your online bond with a partner.

Not anymore.

Now, couples are forced to navigate the murky waters of Twitter faves, Snapchat streaks, twinstagramming, subgramming, going Instagram official, and more.

As Alana Levinson wrote in Splinter, “A love interest consuming your content is now as perfunctory as opening a door for a woman once was.”

If you really cared about me, the theory goes, you’d care about what I’m up to. Ergo, watch my Stories.

For most people, watching their partner’s Instagram Story is a way to show they care. Whether done consciously or unconsciously, it sends the message that you’re interested in what your significant other is thinking and doing.

“I’ve never been in this situation, but I think if I were dating someone who was as into social media as me and they didn’t rabidly consume all of my content, I would definitely be pissed,” said Molly in New York.

Most partners will begin watching each other’s Stories in the courtship phase of the relationship.

Instagram Is Now a Dating Platform, Too. Here’s How It Works.

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Not only does Instagram provide a visually driven collage of your life, it also offers a subtle way of expressing interest through likes and comments, and connecting in the form of a private chat. Meanwhile, the lists of users who have looked at each of your Story cards mean that you now have data — rudimentary and inconclusive, but still, data! — on who exactly is obsessing over you today, tomorrow and yesterday.

Confused by the order of story views? Don’t worry. So is everyone else.

“The theory is that whoever are your biggest stalkers on Instagram are at the top,” Ms. Fisher said, referring to the lists of users who have looked at your Story. But that is just a theory. According to a spokesperson, the order is “based on a number of signals including people who recently viewed your story, accounts you interact with the most on Instagram, and more.”

The mystery has spawned endless ideas about the ranking of handles. In a thread on Reddit, users have documented experiments in which they altered various factors like how often they looked at a friend’s profile, or how often they liked photos on a profile, to see which ones had an effect on the order and which ones did not. The goal for many was to figure out that all-consuming question: Does my crush like me as much as I like them?

Thirst traps: what they are and how to use them

Thirst: a strong desire for something; a lust for attention.

Thirst trap: An image or video that’s intended to attract attention from someone and elicit a response.

“A thirst trap can be as simple as a selfie,” said Andrew Keller, 25, a creative strategist at Paper magazine. “I can put up a really cute selfie of me, and the caption can be, ‘Just ate a bag of Twizzlers, hate myself.’”

“It’s like you’re throwing out a net into a sea of fish,” Mr. Yau said. “Whenever I post a story, I kind of have an idea already of who will respond or what kind of response I will get.” If you are successful, the person you are targeting will be tempted to comment. Might even actually comment. Might even “slide into your DMs.” If so, you have pulled off your very own thirst trap.

First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society

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Loose ties have traditionally played a key role in meeting partners. While most people were unlikely to date one of their best friends, they were highly likely to date people who were linked with their group of friends; a friend of a friend, for example. In the language of network theory, dating partners were embedded in each other’s networks.

Indeed, this has long been reflected in surveys of the way people meet their partners: through mutual friends, in bars, at work, in educational institutions, at church, through their families, and so on.

Online dating has changed that. Today, online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular.

That has significant implications. “People who meet online tend to be complete strangers,” say Ortega and Hergovich. And when people meet in this way, it sets up social links that were previously nonexistent.

The Love Lives of Digital Natives

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The topic of teenage romance and sex has always been charged, but today’s pervasive digital technology has succeeded in turning up the wattage. Some parents have an easy and open channel with their adolescent around all things amorous while others find the subject painfully awkward and try to avoid it altogether. Regardless of where you and your teenager sit on this spectrum, the digital world puts a new spin on some of the timeless challenges of coming of age. When you’re ready to talk, here are some points to consider.

Curiosity, for better or worse, will be satisfied online…

Dating violence can be digital…

Relationships can become round-the-clock affairs…