Facebook is getting into dating. But, rather than introducing a fancy application to compete with other mainstream dating apps, it’s going to build the software into the platform itself. This will mean that all single adults over the age of 18 will be able to interact with other, suitable, members with similar dating expectations.
Details are a little light at the moment because Facebook is taking its time. Employees of the social network are being given the opportunity to test-drive the new software, although they have been told it is not to be used as a tool for dating co-workers. Although this may appear to be a little confusing at first glance, the plan is to iron out any functionality issues, bugs and glitches before it is released to the mainstream public.
This is wise, especially because a dating application built directly into the platform will come under heavy scrutiny. Parents, the media and political groups are likely to jump on the attack bandwagon if anything is seen as imperfect.
Screenshots of the new software have been released, and in traditional Facebook fashion, it is minimal, elegant and apparently easy to navigate. By associating the software directly with the platform itself, Facebook is continuing its strategy of “cradle to grave,” functionality. The child is born, and photos of them are posted on Facebook. Once they reach the age of 16, they can get their own profile and begin to build their history. Now, 18-year-olds will be able to enter the dating pool with the social media platform, interacting with new people and broadening their social network, before getting married and carrying on the cycle.
It’s a smart move, but one which must – and is – being handled carefully. If the end product becomes something that enables people to genuinely communicate at a meaningful level then it will no doubt be a winner.