Hookup culture evolves thanks to a new class of apps helping users find deeper, lasting connections.
Singles have been swiping right since Tinder entered the dating game almost a decade ago, but the newest apps reflect users’ desire for more than just a quick match online.
UnFiltered launched at the end of June with the intention of forging genuine, transparent connections between users. The app doesn’t allow edited or old photos, filters, or fake profiles. “Our mission is to provide a culture of transparent dating to result in serious adults who are looking for more meaningful, lasting relationships,” said UnFiltered cofounder Amanda Pool.
Thursday is testing a new format in the hopes of encouraging more mindful dating habits. Launched in New York City and London in May, the app limits users to 10 matches per day and is only live one day a week—on Thursdays— all matches and conversations vanish at midnight. Co-founder George Rawlings said Thursday is working “to change a culture of how people date,” combatting dating indecision and swipe fatigue that has plagued existing apps. At the end of June 2021, just a few months after launching, the company raised $3.5 million in seed investment—twice their targeted amount.
Other apps are taking a page from TikTok’s popularity. Accustomed to TikTok’s quick and informative video clips, gen Zers are looking for more personalized and interactive ways to stay connected, inspiring new ways of matching online. Feels, launched in April 2021, includes profiles where users can upload short videos of themselves as well. Snack and Lolly, which launched at the end of 2020, both offer videos for users to swipe through to find their match. Lex, a dating app self-described for “queer, trans, gender non-conforming, two-spirit and non-binary people,” features text-only profiles for users rather than pictures. Started in early 2021, So Syncd takes another approach altogether, matching users based on their Myers-Briggs personality types.
Tinder is expanding its offering for singles looking for romantic connection as well. Users can now add videos to their profiles, or head over to the new Explore tab for more interactive ways to connect outside of the traditional profiles. The Explore tab includes the “Hot Takes” feature launched in June 2021, giving daters the ability to chat in a fast-paced questionnaire before they match with someone. Now, users can look through their matches’ “passions” in the tab as well to filter for matches who have similar interests, hobbies, or characteristics.
These new apps show how tech can be a tool for deep connection, ushering in the next era of online matchmaking—one that is mindful and meaningful.
Main image courtesy of Lex, photography by Emily Gallagher.