Have Dating Apps Killed Romance? by Robin Gorman Newman


As a multi-tasking mom and entrepreneur, I wear several hats.  One of them is as a Love Coach for singles.

Thinking back to my single days….I remember how challenging it felt to be out there navigating the socializing waters in NYC (mostly).  Not only was it time consuming to go out, but figuring out where to go was one more thing to do.

All that research and longing for a primary source of information led me to put my writing ability to the test….for both personal gain…and to endeavor to help others.

I am the author of two dating books, How to Meet a Mensch in New York and How to Marry a Mensch.   Mensch, for those who might not know, means decent, responsible person.  The origins are Yiddish, but it’s become quite mainstream.  And, in the dating arena, it doesn’t get any better than finding your Mr. or Ms. Right Mensch.  (Stay tuned for the upcoming Off Broadway musical inspired by the books.)

After doing many speaking engagements and special appearances, a single friend suggested I offer personal advice….because no two people are the same, nor do they have the same needs or challenges.  She was so right….and I launched a practice as a Love Coach — offering private consults to singles to help boost their social lives.

In light of that work, which I still love to do, I decided to take advantage of the invitation to attend a recent panel discussion in NYC at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College entitled “Swipe Left: Dating Apps Have Killed Romance.”  With a title like that, how could any red-blooded single person (or Love Coach) not be intrigued?!

Many of my love coaching clients participate in online dating, especially because most are busy (who isn’t?!) and see it as an opportunity be in the dating game, whether they have time to go out and meet people in person or not.

I, actually, remain a fan of the old fashioned way of connecting, as the web is such a numbers game, but that’s not to say it can’t or hasn’t worked for some.  And, since it’s an ever-changing and growing landscape, I was curious to hear some experts take it on.  I somewhat questioned the topic since, while I know there are pros and cons to online dating, I don’t see how apps kill romance, because true romance, in my book, follows once you have made a connection with someone and develops over time.  Sure you might become smitten quickly, but that’s not the same.

The panel debate, orchestrated by Intelligence Squared U.S., featured in support of the motion, sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author with Aziz Ansari of Modern Romance, and Manoush Zomorodi, host of the Note to Self podcast from WNYC Studios. Debating against the motion were Match.com’s chief scientific advisor Helen Fisher, who studies the neural systems associated with romantic love, and OkCupid’s Vice President of Engineering Tom Jacques. The evening  opened with a keynote Q&A with Daniel Jones, editor of the New York Times’ hugely popular “Modern Love” column.

Here are a number of the topics that were covered and bite size videos from the debate….

Do Dating Apps Add Up?
Does expanding your dating pool online lead to more connections and a greater shot at lasting love? Or does the endless opportunity simply create frustration and unrest? Helen Fisher and Manoush Zomorodi debate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiNLKWGvAW0

Risk and Romance
Daniel Jones, editor of the New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, has read more than 80,000 essays on love over the past 14 years. His analysis? There are two types of people: those who give up on love after heartbreak and those who keep their hearts open.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq1vAzX0PDI

Dating Apps vs. Bars
Can digital platforms really spark romance? Or should singles focus their search for love IRL? Eric Klinenberg and Helen Fisher debate.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReElwjZTFz0

Dating Algorithms, Explained
Have algorithms unlocked the math of match-making? OkCupid’s head engineer Tom Jacques explains the science of digital dating. WNYC’s resident tech expert Manoush Zomorodi responds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kws2lhIaP6I

It was a very well executed and engaging two hour event before a love hungry, packed crowd, and attendees were given the opportunity to pose questions as well.  At the end, the audience got to vote electronically for the team that was the most convincing. (They had also given their electronic vote at the beginning in terms of how they felt before the debate began.)

Each speaker was both entertaining and informative, and moderator John Donvan, an author and correspondent for ABC, was top notch both in terms of wit and skill and keeping speakers on point and timely.  It proved to be a stimulating evening, and perhaps a dose of encouragement for those singles hopeful that online dating will lead them to love.

Engineering Love — This was a touching story!!
OkCupid’s Tom Jacques gets personal and talks about meeting the love of his life online.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5LS0Sdn5u4

 

To view the full debate, see which side won, and to weigh in….visit https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/swipe-left-dating-apps-have-killed-romance.

 

 ABOUT INTELLIGENCE SQUARED U.S. DEBATES (IQ2US)
A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV.  Visit their site to hear about future debates.

 

NOTE: I wish for everyone a very HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!   I invite you to join others here.

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