[Editorial notes: First of all, we would like to wish our readers a happy valentine's day. As part of the days' celebration, we are bringing in practical insights from the field and here is a guest post by SIddhart Mangharam. Siddharth Mangharam is the Founder and CEO of Floh, an online-offline hybrid network that connects singles in real life. In this guest post, he discusses how the relationship space has rapidly evolved over the last few years and the role that technology and social networks play.].
At Floh, our goal is simple: We connect singles in real life. We obsess about understanding singles in India and we’ve learnt a bunch of things in interacting with thousands of singles.
As an urban society, we’re moving from a purely traditional ‘arranged marriage’ scenario to an ‘I’d like to get to know this person a bit more’ mode. Singles value the freedom to find a partner on their own and really want to get to know each other better before taking the plunge.
However, in this hyper connected age there’s a conundrum: If people want to get to know each other better, they need to spend time together in person. But that’s not happening. Since they’re always online and always connected, they end up spending hours sifting through thousands of profiles online – and they end up having a deeper relationship with their computers (or iPhones) than with each other!
We have also learnt that in addition to checking out the Facebook profile of someone they are interested in (no surprises here), singles also check out LinkedIn profiles! This indicates a couple of things. Firstly, LinkedIn is a trusted source of information. Few people would misrepresent their professional lives on a public site, since pretty much everybody can view the information. Secondly, LinkedIn actually has a lot of interesting information about a person – their education, their work history, the cities and countries they have worked in as well as their professional accomplishments. This is totally relevant to a person who may be interested in them!
However, checking out a man or a woman online encourages ‘profile shopping’. When two people meet in person, the chances of a connection are infinitely higher. A real person doesn’t come with a list of likes and dislikes that you may see on their Facebook profile, or on LinkedIn or even on a matrimonial site that ostensibly caters to helping people find a partner. Rather, people in real life have a smile, a personality and a presence that enables the other person to build personal chemistry with them.
Companionship is a basic human condition and humans spend a tremendous amount of energy in finding ‘The One’. The existing method of meeting online via a listing service (i.e. a matrimonial site) is passé. With rich social information available at everyone’s fingertips, relationships 2.0 is something waiting to cause some serious disruption. Watch this space for more!