From “Mask Chat” to 'Animal Crossing': How Lockdown Changed Dating

A new study by Tinder gives an insight into the state of online matchmaking.

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Tech
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While lockdown may have ruled out traditional dating in 2020 so far, recent studies from the online dating app Tinder have revealed that it hasn’t slowed people down.

Staying at home and boredom played a significant role. In the U.K., three weeks into the country’s nationwide lockdowns, Tinder logged a 63% increase in messages sent, compared to the previous month. And younger people, in particular, were even more active: by mid-April, users aged between 18-25 were sending 73% more messages compared to those over 26.

Spanish people were also the highest demographic of users, sending almost double the volume of messages as they had done at the start of lockdown. Again, lockdown boredom is likely to have been a significant factor: Spain had one of Europe’s longest and strictest lockdown periods in the early stages of the pandemic.

Though the volume of messages rose, the level of conversation might not have been as thrilling. Tinder’s findings also showed conversations during that period became heavily weighted towards face masks, with “face mask tan lines” and “if you wear a mask while jogging, we’re not compatible” two of the most popular lines for potential daters.

Elsewhere, more creative ways of hanging out were introduced, when ‘dinner and drinks’ was off the cards. The Nintendo game Animal Crossing became a particularly popular option: mentions of the game increased fivefold during lockdown, with some participants in the app’s study naming a virtual meet-up within the game as their ideal first date.

As daters shift to more virtual options, the app has responded in kind: Tinder is currently testing a face-to-face video functionality, which allows users to take part in virtual dates while social restrictions continue.

In other news, Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Z Flip 5G model in two colorways.

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