Living in a pandemic may have changed most standard dating practices, but dating apps quickly adapted to the need for socially-distanced dating. Even after more than a year in lockdown, the “virtual date,” while doubtlessly safer, still has its own awkward quirks.
But dating app Hinge seeks to refine the process with its launch of Video Prompts today, a new feature meant to break the ice, keep conversation going and introduce the “virtual vibe check” in video dating.
To activate the feature, Hinge users on each video call will see a card-like icon in the corner of their screens. One person will kick it off by selecting one of the eight different prompt themes; all of these bear descriptive names like “The Warm-Up” which unfurls the basics, “Dim the Lights” for a more romantic conversation, or “Dive in Deep” to “skip to the important stuff” in establishing a relationship. There’s even a category dubbed “Behind The Scenes,” a prompt which seemingly encourages a kind of “mini scavenger hunt at home.”
First date awkwardness
To offer another fun, safe way to enhance the video date experience, Hinge also recently partnered with Uncommon Goods to create a “virtual date night kit,” which includes basics for making mocktails and cocktails. The kit comes with step-by-step instructions on making three date night beverages that will hopefully add a familiar touch to the now-virtual act of getting to know somebody new.
Hinge claims that a majority of people— 58%—opt out of virtual dates entirely because they “think it will feel too awkward.” While it’s certainly easier to close an app than flee from a restaurant, the intensity and focus of a video date commitment can still act as potential deterrents. For those Hinge users who have taken the plunge, though, a reported 65% intend to continue video dating once the pandemic is over.
Hinge hopes to ease more users into the idea of digital meet-ups by alleviating the potential terror of a sudden stranger on the screen. For those already vibing with video dating, it’s seemingly become an accessory to single life, not a temporary tool for the pandemic’s challenges.
And, for what it’s worth, it may save singles a few bucks, too.
“Video dates are here to stay,” says Logan Ury, director of relationship science at the dating app’s in-house research wing. “You can skip the long commute and expensive cocktails, while getting a sense of your match’s sense of humor, values and personality.”
Here’s the full list of Video Prompt themes available to help get the conversation flowing, per Hinge:
- The Warm-Up – Start with the basics to get to know each other
- Dive in Deep – Skip to the important stuff
- Behind The Scenes – A tour of your life through your camera
- Not So Serious – Break out of your shell
- Let’s Get Weird – The stranger the better
- Dim The Lights – Let the romantic sparks fly
- Underrated or Overrated – Let’s settle it once and for all
- Let’s Delete Hinge – Answer together as a team