Monday, August 08, 2011

Streetmatching: The Death of Romance [GUEST POST]

Streetmatching: The Death of Romance

I was asked if I would like to offer a guest post from another writer, something I've never done before. The author is Patricia Garza, from Online University Rankings. I thought I would give it a try to see how it goes.

I'd like to preface this post with the quick fact that I don't hate online dating services. While I've never tried one personally, I don't look down on those who do, and it definitely wouldn't stop me from dating anyone who has. But this app I'm about to ream takes online dating to an unprecedented low.

Most online dating services work in an interesting way that allows you to find people you would be compatible with based on how you both describe yourselves. The "problem" with this type of service is that people can exaggerate certain aspects of their profile and not turn out to be the person you expect them to be.

Streetmatching attempts to "solve" this problem by connecting people you bump into in real life through their online dating service. When you run into someone you find attractive, instead of trying to start a conversation with them, you register that you saw a crush through the Streetmatching app. If they also register you as a crush, BOOM. You can email each other (so hot, I know!) through the online Streetmatching service. It's a little like Craigslist's "Missed Connections" section but not nearly as cool or ballsy (with Craigslist, you have to post publically to find that person who's number you were never able to get).

Permission to Rant

Let's slow down and take a look at what this service is actually doing. In what appears to be a social de-evolution of communication, people are now choosing to use their phones and computers to make first impressions, followed by email conversations to see if this person really is as cool as they first appeared, and then maybe they might meet in person (unless Streetmatching makes an app to replace actual dating and sex).

I've got a radical idea: Rather than running home to your computer or fiddling with your phone after seeing a hot person, why don't you actually attempt to become socially adequate and make a lasting impression or conversation with that person? Who knows, you might even be able to get a phone number?!?

One thing is for certain; I would rather have 100 awkward, disastrous first impressions than have a successful, lifelong relationship with an introduction provided by Streetmatching. Imagine telling the story of how you met to your kids. If they had any more nerve than you and your partner, they would probably disown you both.

The Cold Reality of the App

Of course, we must look at the biggest inherent contradiction written into the logic of the app. Streetmatching is attempting to put the "chemistry" and "attraction" of real life dating into their online dating network, but for a "crush" to actually have any effect or purpose at all in this app, the crush also needs to be registered into the network.

Let's be honest for just a minute; anyone who actually looks good or has an interesting or intriguing personality won't have any use for this app. So, despite the good looking models they have in their tutorial, I couldn't see this app being more than a $5 buffet for bottom-feeder net-socialites who have more of a life online and on their phone than through the eyes of physical human beings.

Author Bio:

This guest post is contributed by Patricia Garza, who writes about gadget, technology, design, social media, e-learning related articles at online university rankings.

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  1. I don't have a smart phone yet ... oh, and I'm not looking for a partner ... but this does sound pretty crazy. Thanks for a good post about how our world is (d)evolving.

  2. I've tried a couple of the online dating services. They're bad enough; something like this is just ridiculous. But still, they will no doubt feature a couple home-page testimonials about people who found love with their product. ("I saw Candy on a Tuesday afternoon at a strip club. She was busy working then, so I didn't get to talk to her. But when I got home I went online and . . .")

    I am compelled, though, to point out one error in this post. You wrote "Imagine telling the story of how you met to your kids." What you meant to say was "Imagine texting the story of how you met to your kids." If Streetmatching is any indication, this is a more accurate representation of the future of parent/child relations.


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