As we get to the end of the year, the Christmas holidays are on most people’s minds – though for us at AsianD8, it’s the New Year that gets us excited. With the “new year, new start” and “I’m going to try harder to settle down” resolutions being set by many of our community, there is a fresh spike in excitement and activity. But…. dare I say it, this year won’t be the same.

Chats about the COVID-19 pandemic for me are becoming buzzword bingo – how many times can the phrases “unprecedented times” and the “new normal” be used in a conversation?! For many people, if you’re working from home, you’re still working. And if you’re shopping online, you’re still shopping. We are able to get the same results as we were before lockdowns kicked in, all be it in a slightly different way.

But can we say the same for dating; if you’re dating virtually, are you still dating?

We’ve definitely faced challenges before in the dating space. In 2006, we innovated with the introduction of our first website to broaden the reach of people you could meet. No longer were you stuck in the small pool of colleagues, family introductions or the lucky encounter in a bar. 8 years later, with our community becoming ever more mobile and smart phones becoming mainstream, we launched an app.

Over the past 15 years, each time the needs of our community have shifted, we looked to technology to innovate the way that we date. COVID presents us with a new challenge; the restrictions on face-to-face dating. For some this takes away an integral part of dating – the connections that are built when we sit across a table from each other.

Having personally attended all of the speed dating events we ran for many years, I can all but sympathise. Packed bars buzzing with the sound of singles looking for partners replaced with the buzzing of your laptop fans; the bouncer at the door replaced with “the host will let you in soon”. There are certainly a lot of pros to Virtual Speed Dating and the adoption of our events has been so overwhelming, I’m sure we’ll continue to run them even when social distancing restrictions are eased.

But that isn’t the real challenge facing daters today. Video calling allows us to continue to meet and chat, but does it allow us to truly build connections in the same way? They say that 55% of communication is “body-language”, and 38% “tone”. 93% of all communication is supposedly non-verbal. Video calls certainly allow some of this to translate, much more than texts and e-mails ever will – but there is no doubt it’s not completely the same.

As we go into the new year, we usually see a spike in the number of people actively looking for love. While this is unlikely to change, we expect that many of those who are used to the traditional methods of ‘going out and meeting new people’ will be faced with the same problem and need a different solution – “connection”. And that is certainly what is keeping the team and I up. How do we use technology to enhance the ability of our users to build meaningful connections?

Having taken a lot of pride and satisfaction in AsianD8’s ability to enhance a dating experience. The question that dictates how I and we approach innovation for the foreseeable future is ‘if you’re dating virtually, are you still dating?’

Suj, AsianD8 HQ

Do you have any suggestions on areas you think could help make your experience better? Why not drop us an email to [email protected] and we will do our best to make your experience better!