It’s easy to celebrate the benefits of technology, particularly the access to information and connectivity provided to us by our mobile devices. However, there is at least one major drawback to living in an era where there are more cellphones than people. It’s much harder to have real, serendipitous, potentially romantic run-ins with people we might have otherwise met if we weren’t constantly drooling over a retina display. Think
about it: how many times have you avoided a conversation with the cute stranger on the bus or at the bar or in the waiting room because you’d prefer to look at Taylor Swift’s Instagram feed?
Rather than get rid of our mobile phones (never gonna happen), it’s time to adapt. Here are four easy steps you can take to turn your mobile device from a hook-up prohibitor in to the ultimate wingman. (Note: we’re excluding step zero, which is getting a smartphone. Come on — it’s 2012 already!)
Step 1: Browse the Merchandise
There’s no need to go download a bunch of dating apps right off the bat. In fact, the best way to start the mobile search for love is to use the apps you probably already have: Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Facebook. A little (repeat: a little) e-stalking never hurt anyone. In fact, you could simply arrange “chance” encounters with current crushes when they generously let you know where they are going that night via Twitter, or check-in to the bar down the street from you on Foursquare. Just be careful not to cross over into the “creepy person who shows up everywhere I check in” zone.
Step 2: Put Yourself Out There
Now that you know what you want in a partner and have decided that your current network isn’t providing enough romantic opportunity, it’s time to put yourself out there. Pick one or two of the big online dating services and sign up. They all have mobile apps. OkCupid is among the best (and has an optional location-based element — more on that below). Just because you’ve signed up, doesn’t mean you have to immediately
start dating everyone with a hot profile picture. It’s always worth spending a few days seeing who’s on the site and then cultivate an approach to message the people you like.
Don’t stop there. Think about what matters to you, and there is likely a dating site built around it. For instance, if you’re a music lover both Fellody and Tastebuds.fm connect people based on musical interest.
Step 3: Show and Tell
Sexting sometimes gets a bad rap, and with good cause. Once you post something on the Internet it’s there forever. However, if you really want to use your mobile device to improve your love life, experience with sex messaging is something you might want to try. Fortunately, there are apps and strategies for phone-to-phone adult fun that don’t carry the same risk and offer much of the same reward. First and foremost is the now-famous Snapchat, which allows you to destruct a picture after it’s been sent.
An evolution on the Snapchat model is “Peek: Sexting Awesome” (bad name, cool app), which also has a self-destructing photo feature that protects your privacy. In addition, you can mask your pictures so that your partner needs to swipe around the screen to see just a bit of the image at a time. It’s quite the playful way to send sexy pics.
There are also gentler ways to get your point across. Try “I’d Cap That” to add sexy captions to otherwise safe-for-work photos that won’t get you in trouble if they somehow end up on the web.
Step 4: Location, location, location
In the end, you are going to have to meet people in real life. Location-based dating apps sound a little scary, but they can be very effective (and safe!). One end of the spectrum are well known hook-up centric apps like Grindr and Skout. The major dating players are all getting in on location features, too. OkCupid’s location-based feature is an opt-in for their already great app — and it’s a good way to test out the experience. There are even apps for niche communities. Yenta, for instance, connects local Jewish singles based partially on location.
And there’s more. Among our favorite location-dating apps is Tinder. It suggest people in your area you might like. You can then anonymously “skip” or “like” them with the flick of your finger. If they like you back then the app puts you in touch. It’s simple, safe and fun.
There you have it — a pathway to mobile induced love in four simple steps. If it doesn’t work out, there’s always the old fashioned approach: use your mobile phone to call up someone you like and ask them out to dinner.
For more sage digital era dating advice, be sure to watch the exclusive Mashable series, Love in the Time of Robots. Each week we answer viewer questions on everything from online dating dilemmas to sexting etiquette to tactics for stalking your exes on Facebook.
New episodes premiere every Monday at 10pm ET. Watch the latest episode here:
Image courtesy of Flickr, micurs