It’s been pretty entertaining to watch how businesses have gotten creative with technology during this “unprecedented time” so it’s not surprising that a new dating app has been born, with the entire premise around virtual dating.
It’s called Quarantine Together and yes, I tried it out… so you don’t have to.
I signed up for the early access list a little over a month ago. I know apps take a while to develop, so I kind of figured by the time I was actually able to join, quarantine would be over. Fortunately for the creators (but not so fortunate for, you know, the state of things), we are still locked down.
How does it work?
Well, first off, there isn’t an actual app for your phone yet. If you want to sign up, you go to the website and fill out your information to join the wait list. Once they’re ready to remove you from the wait list, you get this sketchy text message asking you to reply with your zip code, and they’ll start sending you matches… via text message. So… first impressions are already a little janky.
There is no swiping.
Mind = blown. You literally have no control over who you match with (which honestly, is both fun and annoying AF). You’re given a link to a dashboard that, to say is basic is an understatement. You can update what you’re looking for in a match, but it’s limited to gender and relationship status (ie; looking for friendship/romance/networking). So, for those of us who want to limit our matches by radius or, God forbid, age… well, you can’t.
Then, you get a text message in the evening asking if you’re available to be matched (it’s supposed to be at 6 PM, but mine have all been closer to 9 PM and since they have my zip code, you’d think they’d get my time zone right). By 9 PM, I’m usually getting ready for bed so I had to turn down the first few. I mean honestly, I can’t be expected to drop everything just to chat with a stranger. Finally, I was able to accept a match.
A separate SMS chat is created, and you’re allowed to text your match for a total of thirty minutes. You’re not given any information about them except their first name. Twenty minutes in, QT sends you both a link for a call if you decide you want to continue the conversation (my match didn’t because he was “with his mom” or something… his loss) but I guess from there you can exchange real phone numbers if you want, but clearly my match was not interested.
The point here is not that I was rejected by someone whose face I hadn’t even seen. The point is, you need more than just thirty minutes out of the blue to determine if you have actually made a connection with someone. Even though we’re quarantined, we’ve still managed to live our lives on some level, whether we’re busy working or on other calls with people we already know. Sure, we can multitask a bit with texting, but you’re still looking at “longer than usual response times.” You can’t just expect people to drop everything for a half hour to get to know someone they know literally nothing about.
Yes, we could have exchanged phone numbers early on and just not used the QT platform for the remainder of our half hour, but not everyone is comfortable giving their phone number out with little to no information about the other person. Thirty minutes of text and a phone call? Not enough to warrant a continued conversation.
Verdict: It’s a great idea in theory.
But the execution needs (a lot of) work. I’m actually not opposed to a completely blind date and that concept is unique enough from the other dating apps out there that it doesn’t need a pandemic to stand out. I definitely understand wanting to roll it out quickly to capitalize on social distancing (and everyone being socially starved) but it doesn’t even feel complete enough to be considered a beta test.
I’ll continue to play around with it as they (hopefully) make some updates, but for now, I’ll stick with Hinge.