Why does online dating feel so juvenile? You fill out yet another profile, trying to define yourself, and trying to discern who the other people on the site really are: do they have friends? Are they “regulars” here? Do they know my ex?
Busy people – people who are “real” – are getting tired of this game. It takes too much time to fill out endless tests on OKCupid, sift through cryptic messages, and power through the endless awkward encounters with strangers. Is it even worth it? Why can’t you just find your prince charming at your neighborhood coffeeshop?
Remember Poking People in College?
There was a time – long ago – when Facebook used to be ripe grounds for meeting new people. In the early days, when it was mainly on college campuses, it was a great way to see people nearby, learn a few things about them, see if they have mutual friends, and then maybe “poke” them or send them a message. Unfortunately for singles, these days are over. Facebook has gone mainstream, poking strangers is out, and privacy settings are in.
But what if there was a way to revive those days? What if you could see single people nearby who are on Facebook and who match certain criteria? What if there was a simple, non-sketchy, decent way to express your interest, and for them to express theirs? Meet Circl.es, a newly launched dating site unlike anything you’ve ever seen – real, single people, nearby, who you’ve never met.
“Nobody on Facebook knows you’re using it!”
It filters out your Facebook friends so you never see your friends on it. You select basic criteria and it shows you public Facebook profiles nearby who match it. You then select which people nearby you’d be interested in meeting. If they also select you, you get an email. Then you go message them on Facebook, and go to the coffeeshop. The best part is, nobody on Facebook knows you’re using it!
Let’s be Real
Circl.es is shockingly decent and normal. You can see the real person right up front. You can see mutual friends, interests, pictures that they use with friends…. It’s real and non-sketchy. There’s no profile, only a snapshot which you either express interest in or don’t. If you select “no,” the person doesn’t see you – it only shows you people who may be interested, and thus, it minimizes rejections.
People get very worked up when you say the words “Facebook” and “online dating” in the same sentence. It’s probably because we’ve been conditioned to protect our privacy, to choose blurry pictures, to communicate with screennames like “SingleGuy25.” But real identities are becoming the norm in the new web – your public Facebook profile is available to strangers in groups you join, events you’re invited to, and on random walls across the internet. Why not be honest about who you are with someone you might actually meet in person? It’s time to bring real identities to online dating.
“The stigma with online dating comes from the fact that it isn’t real… people don’t even use their real names.”
With real identities comes decency. People are accountable. It’s much harder to be creeps or to lie. The stigma with online dating comes from the fact that it isn’t real – people spend hours crafting an image on a site where they don’t even use their real names (and often not even their photos). Single people in the world deserve something better, easier, and simpler.
I’m betting that people want to be real. Younger people seem especially interested in the idea. Online dating doesn’t have to be so difficult. You really can meet Mr. Right at the coffeeshop – but sometimes you just need help making that first connection. Circl.es helps make this happen; the rest is up to you. It’s online dating for the next generation, and it might actually work.