SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Smartphones and computers are forever changing the way we interact with one another.
Instead of meeting in public places and in person, people are joining Facebook groups or swiping left and right on apps instead.
Speed dates used to be held at places like coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, but now they're shifting online too.
Co-Founder and CEO of Filter Off, Zach Schleien, said the idea of a virtual speed dating app came to him long before the pandemic though.
"A few years back, I started asking my dates to video chat before meeting up in person. Often times I would meet up in person and we didn’t vibe, we didn’t have chemistry or I just wasn’t attracted, so once I started video chatting with them before going on these dates, I realized just how amazing and efficient it was," said Schleien.
Thanks to this inspiration, Filter Off could become the new way to have quarantine-friendly speed dates.
It starts with you downloading the app for Android of Apple devices for free and signing up with your phone number (this helps prevent bots from signing up by adding an extra verification step).
Then you put in your other personal information, like your name, age, gender, who you're interested in, a photo, and an interesting fact about you.
You don't have to enter your last name into your profile.
Your profile picture will also be blurred before each virtual speed date, so the other person can't judge you on that alone ahead of the video chat.
After all of that's done, you can sign up for events that are both local and national.
A virtual dating event is scheduled for 8 p.m. MST for the Salt Lake Area community on Friday, January 22nd, 2021.
An hour before an event, Filter Off will tell you to confirm you still plan on attending, then you'll start getting matched up with your virtual dates based on your preferences.
Schleien said, "When the date begins, you press 'start date' and you're entered into a live FaceTime style date on the Filter Off platform."
Each date lasts three minutes and at the end of a date, the app will ask you if you liked each other, before moving on to the next one.
At the end of the event, you'll see a few matches and if you want, you could message them or video call them on the Filter Off platform, so you don't have to exchange any personal information.
"You have nothing to lose. You may feel a little nervous about joining your first video speed date, but the reality is pre-pandemic, when you went on your first date you may have had those butterflies too," said Schleien.
The team at Filter Off says it's working on a web browser-based version of the virtual speed dating service, which they hope to have up and running very soon.