Geek love: Dating apps that choose social over science

geek loveA recent study claims that algorithm-based dating sites aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner this could put the more Web-savvy among us on edge. There’s plenty to be skeptical about when it comes to online dating, and now you’ve been given even more ammunition.

If you’re weary of the same setup or need something outside the box to break up your Internet-inspired social life, there are options. A handful of Web applications are trying to put a new, less formulaic spin on the system.

Nerve Dating

The pitch: Stripping out the science in favor of casual conversation.

nerve dating“The thing that baffles me is how the online-dating industry has become dominated by gimmicks, pseudoscience, robot matchmakers, and the deployment of virtual fruits,” CEO Sean Mills said at launch. “So even if you’re convinced it’s great to date online, these sties don’t make it feel so great. They look like places to book a flight, and they make you feel like you’re auctioning yourself off on eBay.”

Doing the exact opposite of its traditional competitors is the theme behind Nerve Dating. It claims it connects people based on the things that are truly unique to them by having users share opinions on food, bars, events, music, and everything and anything else. And instead of forcing members onto one another, you do more of the work yourself by “overhearing” what like-minded individuals are talking about.

Nerve Dating looks and feels more like a social networking community rather than most Web setup sites. It’s a more natural and conversational way to approach what’s inevitably going to be sort of awkward.


The pitch: First dates (online-inspired, no less) are bad enough. Rope in friends to make it less painful.

duodaterA few things about finding love online are bad. One is that personalities don’t always translate accurately, and algorithms aren’t faultless. Another, much more serious one, is that the Internet is an inherently unsafe place. A first date is always uncomfortable, but you should be even more on your guard if it’s with someone you’ve met online.

DuoDater is a like a security blanket to ease awkward lulls in the conversation and act as a safety net. You and a friend come as a package deal, and from there you set up dates with eStrangers and hope to find a love connection. It’s a less isolating way to approach e-dating, and easily a safer one.  


The pitch: Inject romance into your relationship – regardless of what stage it’s at.

theicebreakTheIcebreak isn’t your traditional online dating site. But the e-romance world has been inarguably tailored to the plight of singles and their quest to meet new people. What about those already entrenched in relationships – isn’t there something the Web can do for them?

Turns out there is. TheIcebreak creates an ongoing dialogue for couples with prompts that get them talking or reminscing, a Pinterest-like wishlist feature which can serve well for gift-hinting, and a photo-sharing tool for collecting visual moments. There’s a public community aspect as well, but you’re more than welcome to use TheIcebreak for you and your significant other alone. You’ll be able to give your relationship the infographic spin as well so you can visualize how it’s all going. It’s like a private Facebook with analytics built-in.

The site is also rewards-based, and your participation will earn you Date Night Coins that you can apply to your nights out. After earning enough coins, you basically just prove you spent money on a date and TheIcebreak will send you up to $20 (20-percent off your receipt from said date). For social media junkies in love, that can translate into more than a few cheap dinners. 

Social Media

Instagram’s new Close Friends List lets you decide who should see your Story

Have a story to share, but don't want to send it to everyone? Instagram now offers a close friends list that will allow users to share stories with only the users included on that list.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Snuggle up with the best romance films on Netflix

Looking for a story about love and lust? We've rounded up the most romantic films currently on Netflix, whether you're looking for a story about young love or a man who falls in love with artificial intelligence.
Social Media

Survey of teens says social media lets them connect with friends and get support

A survey of teenagers shows the ways that social media sites can be beneficial to them, like feeling more connected to their friends, the ability to interact with different people, and as a venue to get support when they are struggling.
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.
Social Media

Hangouts isn’t being hung out to dry in 2020, Google says

According to a report, Google may shut down Google Hangouts by 2020. While Hangouts was once Google's top-tier messaging app, the app has since been neglected in favor of Android Messages.
Social Media

Tumblr bans nudity to create ‘a safe place for creative expression’

Tumblr will soon no longer allow images with adult content. The company says the change is one that's designed to help more creators feel comfortable sharing on the platform, but admits the change won't happen overnight.
Social Media

Members can share the same Story with Facebook’s new Group Stories

Facebook Group members can now view and share Group Stories. Unlike the Stories for an individual user, the new tool allows members to contribute to the same Group Story, if the feature isn't turned off by an admin.
Social Media

You can now share saved Facebook posts with a Pinterest-like collection tool

Facebook collections can now be shared with friends if you also want to allow them to contribute to the list. Facebook is rolling out an update that allows users to add a contributor to their collections, or lists of saved Facebook posts.

Broadway actor tells Kanye West to get off his phone during opening night

Theater actors can get understandably upset when they spot someone in the audience fiddling with their phone instead of watching the show. The other night that audience member was Kanye West, and he got called out for it.
Social Media

This event topped Facebook’s biggest moments of the year — again

As the year comes to a close, Facebook is looking back on what users discussed most over the last year. For two years in a row, International Women's Day topped the list. So what else is on the list?
Social Media

This band owns Twitter, according to list of top accounts and tweets for 2018

What was the biggest buzz on Twitter in 2018? Twitter's 2018 Year in Review highlights the biggest tweets, accounts, and hashtags. The most-tweeted celebrities, movies, TV shows, athletes, politicians and more in Twitter's 2018 trends.