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LAST_UPDATESat, 25 Nov 2017 9am

Are More Malaysians Using Dating Apps To Find Love?

Controlling our love life with a flick of the finger on our smartphone with the same ease we check messages from work or order products from online stores. Has finding love reached a whole new level of casualness and ease?

We have all heard of finding love on the internet and can recall many of our own friends or acquaintance who found their spouses on sites such as Match.com, OkCupid, and even through social media sites like Facebook, Skpe and WeChat.

So what is the difference between dating apps and social networking sites?

When we talk about dating and social media sites, we associate them more with traditional desktop online dating which has really established its presence in the last 15 to 20 years. A Pew Research Centre study on ‘Dating and Mating in the Digital Age’ conducted last year revealed that 66% of online daters had actually gone on a date with someone they met online with 23% of them having entered into marriage or a long term relationship after meeting through these sites.

Dating apps on the other hand, offer the additional flexibility and freedom of mobile features, easily portable to follow you everywhere and additional features such as location-based GPS to find suitable mates nearby, without having to scroll through pages of profiles and lengthy messages of traditional dating sites

A simple finger touch on your smartphone screen allows you to signal your interest, chat, disclose your location and decide if you want to take the next step, to go on a date - all done without the fear and awkwardness of face to face interaction that one experiences in a club or social gathering.

In the last 5 years, dating apps have really taken off in a big way in western cultures, in particular US and Europe where apps like Tinder and Grindr have really gained a foothold in the online dating game. However, many of these apps still use Facebook as their ‘home base’ whereby users usually sign in through Facebook to reduce the probability of fake profiles.

The past 2 years has seen a virtual explosion in the number and scope of dating or matchmaking based apps. Besides Tinder, there is Hinge, True View, Tickr, Coffee Meets Bagel, Dattch, Christian Mingle and Tastebuds. In the last year alone, the dating apps The League, The Catch, Dapper, Happn, The Dating Lounge and Wyldfire were launched,

More Malaysians Catching The Dating App Fever

kehmistry appkehmistry appAs with most social trends, it was only a matter of time before dating apps started to pick up among Malaysians too.

If you look at the dating apps that are available on the market, many are international based in content and clientele. As users demand for such apps grow locally, it was only natural for locally-based dating apps to be created.

In February last year, Malaysian-based dating app, Kehmistry, which was established in 2013, partnered up with U Mobile to offer their app to users and the app utilizes your smartphone geolocation to identify other singles nearby. At its launch, Kehmistry was described as specifically designed for busy, middle-class, urban professionals under 35 years old that find it hard to find time to date.

In October last year, our neighbour from the land of Merlion, Singapore also launched a dating app just for Muslims - Mat & Minah. The best part is the app is free of charge!

At its launch, a Singapore-based news daily reported that the man behind Mat & Minah; Zuraimie Ismail, 43, director of Skimly the company that developed the app, as stating that Muslims traditionally depend on familial connections for help to find a spouse but this practice has declined due to the increasing urban diaspora. Utilizing such an application allows single individuals to take control of their own destiny and provides a matchmaking platform which previously was only available from religious associations.

There is also the Singapore-based dating app. Paktor, which was launched early last year and managed to match 250,000 users in just two weeks. It is touted as the #1 social networking app for singles in Asia .

Many of these dating apps have their roots in social media sites which provides the platform for them combined with greater flexibility that mobile apps offers, Today, it is commonplace to find couples who publicly declare they first met on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as these dating apps become more socially acceptable, especially to the younger generation.

“We first knew each other after I saw his Instagram profile and followed him. After that, he always clicked the like button on my pictures and leave comments. At that time, we were just friends before exchanging our phone numbers,” said local celebrity, 21 year-old local celebrity Erin Malek, who shared how she met her future husband with a local online entertainment news site.

Ahmad Zahid Baharuddin or Zahid, a DJ for the local radio station, Era, also publicly declared that he knew his wife Sarah Julifa Isa via social media, Twitter. After getting to know her for a year, he decided to ask her hand in marriage.

Like Online Dating, Dating Apps Comes With Pros And Cons

One thing about technology is, it could be a double-edged sword. Depending on how you use it, you could find ‘the one’ or just as easily locate a one night stand.

The popular US-based international dating app, Tinder, is also known as the McDonald’s of sex.Tinder.jpgTinder.jpg

Tinder follows a very simple principle; ‘hot or not’. Basically all you have to do is approve or reject people in your area only based on their pictures by swiping to the left for ‘No’ or right for ‘Yes’.

Malaysian Digest talked to Faiz Sobri, a 23-year old journalist who uses Tinder and shares with us his experiences of using dating apps.

“I would say most urban people know about Tinder compared to those who live outside urban areas. Tinder is a mobile dating app that uses your current location and look for any single ladies around your area. I use both Tinder and OkCupid.

“For me when I look at the profiles, I would go for physical attraction (slim, fit) and girls who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking like I do.

Faiz also agrees that most guys use Tinder as a place to look for hook-ups.

“Yes I do agree that most guys would only be interested in hook-up rather than establishing a relationship. Girls on the other hand really believe that Tinder would help them to find their Mr Right.

“You cannot believe 100% whatever they say in their profiles. They could be faking it when they say they are single but they actually already have a relationship.

The risk of using these mobile dating apps does not stop at looking for random sex. Hackers could intercept cookies from the app via a Wi-Fi connection or public access point, and then tap into other devices such as the camera, GPS and microphone that the app has permission to access.

Not only that, hackers could also create a fake login screen on the dating app to steal the user’s information, so when users try to log in, the information is also shared with the hackers.

“When you use these apps you have to remember that the people who are on it probably came from failed relationships in the past and are ready to make a new one. That’s what I always think when I chat with the girls.

“Otherwise what could be other reasons for them to be here (dating apps) if not looking for a meaningful relationship?” said Faiz.

The thing about online dating is you just need your smartphone and a cozy sofa. Swipe through the instant options available and start chatting with the people that manage to pique your interest.

Generation Y millennials have so much distraction vying for their attention that they can’t be bothered with laborious traditions like ‘courtship’, preferring the casualness of hook-ups made so much easier with GPS and pre-programmed matchmaking provided by dating apps.

A Review Of The Top 5 Best Smartphone Dating Apps

For our readers who feel inspired to try their luck after reading about the dating app scene locally, here is a brief recommendation of the top 5 best dating apps we recommend.

Tinder

The most mentioned app in this article. Many people love to use this app because of its user-friendly interface. All you have to do is log in with your Facebook account and the app will upload your first name, photos, interest and your age to create a Tinder profile. After that, you can anonymously browse other profiles near you, swiping right if you are interested or swiping to the left if you are not interested. If both persons swipe right, Tinder will let you know it is a mutual thing and offer you to send a message.

OkCupid


Their app is fundamentally all the capacities of their website offered in a versatile structure, including building your profile, looking at and rating different profiles, answering tests and talking up potential dates. Faiz would recommend this app if you are seriously looking for a relationship.

Plenty of Fish


The app gives you a chance to make and alter your profile, search through potential matches and message intriguing singles close by. Their app suits the technically challenged as it does all the filtering through a series of questions that you answer. In case you're somebody who believes that dating is an amusing numbers game, then jump into the dating sea and see for yourself if there truly is ‘plenty of fish’ out there.

Tastebuds


Tastebuds lives up to expectations around a straightforward reason: on the off chance that you like the same music, then you're considered more likely to get along with one another. Users log in, enter their musical tastes and most loved music specialties and groups, and Tastebuds does the rest, revealing to you the profiles of individuals close to you with comparable musical tastes, and providing for you the choice to visit online and maybe get together. You don't even need to restrain Tastebuds to dating. Looking for a show mate or musical partner? Tastebuds possesses all these additional features.

Mat & Minah


The application is called Mat & Minah, a casual slang for Malay men and ladies. How the application functions is straightforward: It is like the Tinder app, where users sign up for an account by synchronizing it with their Facebook profile. Users can like or dislike the individual by swiping the screen left or right. How the application monetises its site is that it permits users to pay to figure out which users "liked" them despite the fact that there is no match. The application's specialty business sector is alluring, particularly for those into genuine connections. The limited number of clientele also helps deter casual hook-ups.

--mD