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When did TikTok become a dating app?

2020 made everything weird. People started sanitizing their groceries, glaring at those who didn’t stand 6 feet away in grocery stores, scoffing at the idea of going to movie theaters and bars, and treating toilet paper aisles like they were the ninth inning. Zoom, along with other video conference platforms, became the way to talk to everyone. And matching face masks to one’s outfits is far more common than it probably should be.

What else became strange and lucrative? The online dating scene. While divorce is on the decline in U.S. households (but got a noticeable boost in the U.K. along with other parts of the world), March left some people in that in-between space where cuffing season ended and spring mingling was around the corner … until it wasn’t.

Online dating platforms became the place to be because unhappily singles were bored, lonely or just missed out on the fun of the dating scene. While it makes sense for sites like OkCupid, Match and Cupid Media to get an increase in membership, how in the world did TikTok become the place to find a beau? It turns out socially isolating singles are paying extra attention to users’ hobbies and mannerisms.

On traditional dating apps, approximately 56% of adults view dating apps and services as either somewhat or very negative. In fact, the numbers are higher for women (59%) versus men (55%), who both have a somewhat or very negative opinion on dating sites and apps.

According to SurveyMonkey, part of the reason is due to security concerns (screening for sex offenders, fraudsters and sharing personal information). However, the major issue is not being able to do the usual things you’d do while dating in person, like observing body language, tone of voice, and verifying legitimate and updated photos.

Interestingly, c|net reports that, “TikTok is filling the void left by not being able to go out to a bar or club and be around other random humans.” How? Instead of an overly creative dating profile and 10-year-old pics to lure you in, the video streaming site is not trying as hard to impress users (at least romantically). Interested users are just seeing each other’s current faces, observing people’s sense of humor and personality quirks, and snooping around social media users’ home backgrounds. Visual media has become a peek into what it’d be like to hang out with that person platonically and romantically

TikTok matchmakers like Your Rishta Auntie have gone a step further by posting the equivalent of dating app profiles to find potential suitors. And the New York Times labeled TikTok the “next Tinder” for lesbians.

Will this trend last once the coronavirus vaccine is available to more people who can eventually go outside and mingle again? Who knows? In the meantime, social media users are making the most of it while we’re all still hanging at home.

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