Mar 9 2014, 5:21pm CDT | by Forbes
At a panel at SXSW in Austin Greg Liberman, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spark Networks, the company that owns JDate and ChristianMingle, explained that in every stage of history there is one force that dictates the order of dating.
First there were the matchmakers, village leaders who set partners up and arranged marriages. In the 20th century they were replaced by the telephone, a device that allowed suitors to schedule dates whenever and with whomever they chose. The past decade saw the return of the matchmaker, but this time it was an invisible algorithm on a website. Online dating meant people had more potential dates and more opportunities for speaking with them.
And now, so soon after the last revolution, there is something that has changed dating as we know it once again: the smartphone.
Mobile has completely taken over dating. We meet people on apps and mobile versions of dating websites and get to know them directly through text and indirectly through Facebook , Instagram, and LinkedIn. In a lot of ways it has made things easier, providing vast amounts of choice and making communicating with potential partners so easy and convenient. But phones have also ushered in a new set of dating rules, ones that singles must know and conquer if they want to succeed.
Last year Spark Networks commissioned a study among 1,500 singles aged 21-to-50 to determine exactly what these new expectations and norms are around mobile dating. This morning I sat down with Liberman to discuss some of the more surprising results. Here is what you need to know:
You still have to pick up the phone. Singles, especially those in their twenties, love texting to get to know people. In fact, 50% of those aged 21-to 26 report texting a few times a day before going on a date. But here’s the catch: 68% people of singles still think it is important to talk on the phone before a face-to-face date. Some are picky about voices. Others feel safer once they have heard someone speak. But mostly, a phone call makes them feel admired. “People think you can text a bunch of people; it really doesn’t take much time to text,” says Liberman. “Picking up a phone is a sign you are interested. It makes you stand out.” He even met a woman who broke up with a man who never called even though he showed interest in other ways; it was a sign he just wasn’t serious.
Don’t play hard to get. Go on an exceptional first date? Want to ask someone out again? Make sure you get in touch quickly! 78% of singles expect to communicate within 24 hours after a good first date. 30% expect something within 3 hours. 5% want an instant text. 46% say they have even gotten mad at a suitor over their long text response time. Liberman says these numbers show that the dating game is changing. Singles no longer want to spend days anxiously waiting for signs that he or she is into them. And knowing how easy it is to get in touch, they have no tolerance for people who aren’t reaching out quickly.
It doesn’t matter who reaches out next. 66% of singles said it doesn’t matter who makes the next move in a relationship. And there were no significant changes across the age groups, which mean both old and young agree. I love this stat – If both people had fun, why does it matter who suggests the next adventure?
You can check your phone on a date, but you have to explain why. 96% of singles keep phones out of sight during a date. It’s rude to have one eye on your screen and one on your date’s new dress. Yet, 67% still manage to check their phones during a date. But the survey gives good news: “For those trying to hide the sneak peeks at the phone, they can drop the discreet act. 81% of singles find it acceptable or would not be offended if their dates responded to a text, email, or phone call while on a date, as long as the response were accompanied by a reasonable explanation.” Phew.
You can break up over text (even if it was serious) 59% of singles are ok with breaking up via text if they had a casual relationship. 24% think a text breakup is still fair play even if the relationship was serious. While Liberman clearly finds this behavior distasteful – “If you are in an exclusive relationship, show a little respect,” he says – he still understands why it is the case. “We are obsessed with our phones,” he says. “It’s how people are used to communicating.”
Dating is now a 24 hour a day activity. Almost half of singles (44%) check their phone first thing in the morning (before brushing teeth, drinking coffee, flipping on the TV). A quarter of all singles aged 21 to 26 actually sleep with their phone in bed with them (not on the night table. Not at arms length. In bed.) This means that people are always checking their dating apps, responding to texts from crushes, looking up the next spot for a date. That means that above everything else, dating in the age of mobile is a full time job.
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.
blog comments powered by Disqus
News | Technology | Electronics | Electronic engineering | Person Career | smartphone | Mobile telecommunications | Mobile phones | Personal life | Text messaging | Human behavior | Behavior | Online chat | Online dating service | Philosophy of love | Mobile dating | Courtship | First date | Greg Liberman