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Nobody is happy, but nobody can do anything about it. But a new generation of dating apps impose limitations on daters that might liberate them.
The executives at the apps themselves tend to see the problem as one of gender dynamics; their innovations are intended to tackle the unhappy experiences that too many women report.
The men (let alone the women) would benefit from a collective agreement to each send fewer and higher-quality messages, but have no way to co-ordinate such an agreement.
When Coffee Meets Bagel launched, one selling point was its enforcement of such a policy: users received just one match per day.
Similarly, women don’t have to worry about how they’ll be perceived for initiating a conversation.
“We have a phrase for these things: just blame it on Bumble,” says Mick.
You don’t want to marry the first person you meet, but you also don’t want to wait too long.
This can be a serious dilemma, especially for people with perfectionist tendencies.
Wait too long to commit, and all the good ones might be gone.The classic example is overfishing: each individual fisherman is tempted to harvest the ocean just a little bit more, and improve his current catch, but if all the fishermen do so then the piscine population plummets and everyone suffers in the long run.In the case of online dating, the “shared resource” is women users’ attention: if every man “overfishes” then the women’s attention (and patience) runs out, and the women abandon the app altogether.The apps strategically restrict choices to shift users out of a bad equilibrium – low-quality messages and low response rates – into a better one.While the dating market will always have a heart of its own, many other markets face similar challenges in the internet age.
Traditional heterosexual dating apps have a fatal flaw: women get flooded with low-quality messages – at best vapid, at worst boorish – to the point where checking the inbox becomes an unappealing chore.