Online dating is so acceptable now that it’s practically passé. Oh, you met on Match? OkCupid? PlentyOfFish? Tinder? Whatevs, I’ve totally heard your story. Please come up with a more interesting one stat if you’d like me to keep listening.
Take, for example, the couple that met on Instagram: Dennis Lafargue and Elizabeth Wisdom. These two are the popular photosharing site’s new poster children, due to the fact that they met after Lafargue started
stalking liking all of Wisdom’s pics until she finally felt the need to check out who this creep fan was.
The two started sending messages back and forth, until their relationship reached the inevitable online dating point of, “Okay, we really need to take this IRL if it’s gonna continue, otherwise we’re basically just wasting our time with all of these deep convos.”
They met, fell in love, and are now engaged to be married in Wisdom’s grandma’s barn. While the romantic part of me (which, believe it or not, is actually huge) is thinking “Aw! That’s the cutest!” the cynical part of me (which is also huge) is thinking that these kids are 21 and marriages that happen before the age of 25 are the most likely to fail.
So… We’ll see where this fairytale goes.
But I think the biggest takeaway from this fabulous free viral marketing campaign that Instagram has fallen into is not that you can find love in unexpected places, or that your soul mate is out there somewhere, you just have to stop looking (or whatever other dating platitude you want to throw in). The takeaway is that it’s time to look outside of the traditional online dating model if you truly want to be disruptive.
Here’s what I’m seeing now (and what I was trying to outline in my very facetious opening paragraph): Every single dating site is the same damn thing. It’s all about big data and algorithms and even the sites that are supposedly new and novel are really just rehashes of the same old thing.
Here’s the truth guys: The market is saturated.
OkCupid, Match, eHarmony: they own that shit. Any dating site entering the space now is way too far behind to make any kind of substantial, interesting, truly disruptive change. The model has been codified and any replication is just going to be the same old, same old.
My question, then, is why bother? Rather than pumping out dating site after dating site that follows the same old pattern, why not do something that’s actually disruptive? Examine situations like these, where a couple met in a totally unexpected, interesting, romantic, kismet kind of way. Take a close look and really consider what is happening here.
What worked? What didn’t? What true connection was happening? What isn’t so obvious? Those are the spaces where you’re going to find the truly disruptive, interesting product that could add something of value to what we already have.
Be innovative. Stop following and start thinking.
Photo by Angelo Gonzalez via CC License on Flickr