Saturday, October 13, 2012

Shidduchim - There IS An App For That!

It was bound to happen. Less than a year after I wrote a post in response to newly released apps that help people find dates based on GPS technology and proximity, wherein I discussed the theoretical possibilities and potential of a Jewish version - the app actually exists!

Dubbed "Yenta," obviously tongue-in-cheek, the purpose of the app is to circumvent having to fill out lengthy, detailed online profiles and meet people in a more casual fashion. The reporter in the video actually finds a guy using the app and proceeds to interview him.

I'm glad to see that this technology has reached the Jewish Community, even faster than I would have thought when I was writing my post last November. However, I do think my three main points that I concluded the post with will or should show up in some form:

1) The dates necessarily won't be as instantaneous , but let's give a short window of opportunity, say an 1-2 hours, for the interested person, should he/she desire, to make a phone call or two.

2) If the system catches on, and we can create a network of references who "approve" the person, all you would have to do is check the list of registered references and see if there was anyone you know. The dater would have had to contact the person, invite them, we'll say, when they set up their mini-profile, and that individual has to reply and potentially be available for contact. Instead of having a few references, you could end up having a very long list - each categorized differently based on their personal connection to the dater - and odds are, you'll know someone on it, given how Jewish Geography works, especially if both of the daters live in close proximity.

3) For anyone who still wants a shadchan available - and ASoG and I have seen fewer people actually use us at all as intermediaries - those people could also be attached to the profile, "on call" as it were, for post-date follow ups and anything else that may need to be communicated, even a 1 and done reply.

I think #2 is the most significant. Related to that, the Huffington Post article writes,

"As NPR reports, women have proven hesitant to use GPS dating sites because of the potential safety risks. Even Nick Soman, the CEO of LikeBright, another GPS dating app, told NPR that he understands there's a certain creep factor:
"The only thing scarier than a random grab bag full of dudes who are just aggressively messaging you, is a random grab bag full of dudes who are literally around you," he said."

The world is a scary place out there, and I've heard enough horror stories to know that stuff can and does happen. I'm not just talking about bad quality dates, or guys/girls who have issues like anger management, etc - but something like a particular guy someone I know when out with who repeatedly managed to find ways to sequester the two of them in very problematic yichud situations on dates - like in a locked stairwell or apartment rooftop - and managed to force her into hugging and kissing him. She gave in during the moment, but deeply regretted her actions later. Sufficed to say, things could get much more inappropriate than that easily enough.
So if we can work out the kinks in the system, make it safer and more comfortable vis-à-vis checking references and at least knowing the person in someone is safe to be around, I think this technology should be welcomed as another means of helping singles meet their spouse.
On a related note: what's the deal with this new website that will be launching on November 11th, called "Harei At," which claims to be the ultimate solution that will supposedly "totally, officially, definitely, completely, etc. etc." end the so-called shidduch crisis?


  1. Funny you should mention this app. I just put it on my phone a few days ago.i haven't really had much time to check it out yet

    1. Want to try it out and write up a report/post or I can interview you and write up a post?

      I'm interested to see how it works for observant folks.


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