How coronavirus is changing online dating

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 2:23 PM EDT
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The coronavirus is changing online dating. In fact, dating apps are working fast to create new features as users look to connect virtually during the pandemic.

"Nine out of 10 users are telling us they're open to a virtual first date," said Dawoon Kang, the co-founder of the social networking service Coffee Meets Bagel.

The service has seen an increase in user engagement. Kang says the company tried video features before, but they didn't catch on. Chats between potential matches now last longer and many logon for virtual meetups, like the service's new coffee talk.

"People are slowing things down," Kang said. "Instead of swiping like crazy and writing people off, I'm seeing that people engage with each other more."

According to Coffee Meets Bagel, some of the top virtual date ideas are game night, online museum tour, movie night and a virtual coffee.

Other apps are also focusing on the power of cyberdating. Plenty of Fish launched a live feature so singles can better connect. Match reintroduced its video chat called vibe check.

For Kayla Berenson, it's all about Zoom dates in a time of social distancing. Berenson first bonded with Sam Adams over TV shows and podcasts on Hinge. That led them to get creative for their first digital meetup. They had a podcast-style virtual date.

"I knew we had that common interest of like podcast, so I figured he'd be a good person to ask," Berenson said.

Dating digitally comes with less pressure for Berenson. She's now embracing a new normal in hopes of one day finding her perfect match.

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