Private. Safe. Exclusive. That’s how tech company Loveflutter is selling their Blue app, which they describe as, “A premium version of Loveflutter exclusive to Twitter’s blue tick verified community. Swipe discreetly and know who you’re matching with is interesting and real.” The blue tick refers to the blue checkmark (or tick) that appears on the account of verified Twitter users.
According to Twitter, “the blue (note: hence the name of the app) verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. We approve account types maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.” Apparently, eager singles now need not merely Bumble and Tinder like the plebs. Enter Blue.
Looking for love in the digital age is an odd thing. Where once couples used to be set up by friends and family or meet through church or in the normal course of things, now we are turning more and more to apps. But once someone decides to take the digital leap, which app should they use? There’s Tinder, which shows you who is nearest to you; or Bumble, where the woman has to make first contact. Huggle shows you who goes to the same places that you do; Farmers Only is, well, just for farmers; and other sites like Jdate and Catholic Match are based on religion. And, now, we have Blue.
There are some upsides to this latest entrant in the digital dating market. Consider a public figure who wants to date but doesn’t want to show up on somebody’s Tinder and have screenshots available for everyone to see or, worse, get catfished and have the whole thing go viral so a stranger can garner fifteen minutes of fame at his or her expense. The mutually assured destruction of knowing the other person is also verified is something of an insurance policy, but it also limits the number of people you’re going to meet. In fact, it seems like a lot of the dating apps do that.
Tinder and Huggle all depend on geography. So, if you are going to the same places (which, let’s face it, most of us do), you’re going to keep getting the same people. If the whole point is meeting new people, this isn’t going to be that effective. Also, it’s a little bit stalkerish, and, while you clearly have something in common (you go to the grocery store? Me too!), it’s hardly something upon which to build a life. Farming is a life, not just a job, so it kind of makes sense that you would only be open to other people living that life, although I’d suggest that these farmers be open to meeting non-farmers and see how it goes. The religious-based apps are going to limit your pool pretty severely, but they make the most sense. If religion is important enough to a person that he or she is going to use it as the criteria for dating, then he or she isn’t going to choose to be with someone long term who doesn’t share the same beliefs. Why widen the pool just to add a bunch of fish who are going to be tossed out?
Now, for the super incredibly choosy who, I’m pretty sure, don’t actually want to meet someone, there are even more niche sites: Bristlr (for men with beards and the people who want to love them), Sizzl (for people who like bacon), Gluten Free Singles (self-explanatory), Trek Passions (for sci fi fans), Tall Friends (no short people need apply), and equestrian cupid (must love horses). Imagine my disappointment that Tindog, Tinder for dogs, appears to have shut down. My Labrador is, apparently, going to be stuck with me forever. Sorry, Virgil.
I can’t help but think that, by limiting their pool to such a degree, these people are not really that invested in meeting someone. And there is the ever-present question that must be addressed if you online date: Should we be sorting and ranking each other before we even meet IRL? There are, of course, always going to be deal breakers. For someone seeking a long-term relationship, it is more than fair to make sure that certain criteria are met before diving in. Religion and values make sense in this context, but beards? Not so critical. Can you not marry someone who isn’t your ideal height if he makes your heart happy? And as a celiac American, I will tell you that it is entirely possible to date someone who is not gluten-free. Then again, I’m verified on Twitter, so maybe my one true love is waiting for me on Blue and I just don’t know it.