Dating apps are extremely popular, but that doesn’t mean most people enjoy using them. Now that dating apps have become the norm, it’s easy to see their shortcomings. For one, these apps become sites for abuse towards women. One can glance at the Bye Felipe Instagram account to view the staggering amount of hateful messages sent to uninterested women by entitled men. And when it comes to Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps, many guys resort to “gaming” the system by swiping right on everyone to receive as many matches as possible.
New dating apps spring up to solve the problems of their forbears. But what if there were another way? What if we employed chatbots to help us find the perfect match? It goes without saying that chatbots make it easy for businesses to talk to consumers. So why not use chatbots to help us talk to each other?
Breaking the Ice with a Chatbot
One of the ways chatbots can be used for better socialization is by serving as role models for how to respond to abuse. For example, if a user says something abusive to a bot, the bot can respond by stating how that behavior is not okay. Now, imagine a dating service that employs a bot to help users find a match. If one user tries to send an abusive message through the bot, the bot can shut the message down and explain how that language isn’t tolerated. This enforces respectful behavior and can protect users from an abusive experience.
Another benefit to chatbots as matchmakers is that the medium thrives on personalization. If a chatbot can find you the perfect outfit for your style, why not find a potential romantic partner? One of the biggest problems that women specifically face on dating apps, outside of abuse, is filtering through a glut of message requests. A chatbot that’s aware of its client’s preferences can easily filter out matches. Because the chatbot exists in a messaging app, the user could move from chatting with the bot to chatting with a match without friction.
Finally, some may wonder if the growing automation and popularity of chatbots might make us more lonely. By building bots that help us connect and forge deeper relationships with one another, we don’t have to worry about driving isolation.
Dating Chatbots Are Already Making Waves
Matchmaking chatbots aren’t a thing of fantasy. They exist already and are poised to revolutionize the way we date and make new friends. Take, for example, Lara from Match.com. Lara’s biggest selling point is that she gives new users a taste of what they might find on Match.com platform. She asks for basic details—age, location, sexual orientation, etc.—via Facebook Messenger to get a user set up. She then offers matches, which include basic profile information with a profile image. Users may select a match, which opens the Match app to view the profile in full.
It’s important to note that in this way, Lara is more of a marketing or onboarding agent rather than a chatbot-first experience. She makes it easy for users to begin browsing before they’ve formally set up a Match.com account. But once users have filled out a profile in full, Lara can use all that rich data to find more accurate, more sophisticated matches.
One of the more unique ideas for using chatbots in dating is NearGroup. NearGroup changes the dating formula by setting up “virtual dates” for users. When you begin chatting with NearGroup, the bot instantly connects you with a nearby stranger. This allows users to make conversation without snap judgment on looks, and without the need to provide personal information. Rather than waste time swiping or filtering messages, users get the chance to get to know a person.
Given the focus on conversing, rather than filling out a profile, NearGroup isn’t the best option of picky daters. But it’s an example of a chatbot that can be just as good for finding new friends. If you don’t find your one true love, you’re at least likely to make a good friend.
Finally, Foxsy is a one of dating chatbots that shows how helpful a heavy dose of personality can be in the world of dating. Sort of like a wingman or your BFF who goads you to talk to the cute guy across the room, Foxsy does its best to help get the conversation flowing in a unique way.
First, it asks a series of questions to help you build a profile. The bot then provides a series of potential people to connect with. Once you’ve chosen a match, Foxsy will provide suggestions on shared interests or things to talk about. This way you can build an engaging conversation right for the start, rather than giving a generic and unengaging greeting. Foxsy is a good example of how chatbots can not only connect people but help augment their conversations. It is like a host of a party helping friends mingle with one another.
Each of the matchmaker chatbots mentioned above provide a unique benefit. From seamlessly connecting people together to easing the stress of finding a match, chatbots can go a long way in helping humans connect quickly and respectfully. We’d love to see more chatbots improve upon the old dating formula.
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