Guest Author - Kristina de la Cal
Imagine browsing through potential matches on an Internet dating site, coming across somebody that you think you might hit it off with and moments later, finding yourself on an interactive, real-time date with that person all from the comfort of your own home. One of the latest dating trends allows singles to do just that. Using technology developed by digital media company, OmniDate, virtual dating allows singles to step into a virtual world where they can interact with potential love interests and use the results of that interaction to determine whether or not there is a connection worth pursuing in the real world.
Though it has yet to be embraced by the major providers of Internet dating services, virtual dating is poised to soon become the next big thing in the world of online dating. Since it is a relatively new phenomenon, let’s take a more in-depth look at what virtual dating is all about and how it may benefit you in your dating pursuits.
On the surface, virtual dating is not much different than regular online dating. You register for an account, upload a photo, complete a dating profile then search for and communicate electronically with potential matches. What sets virtual dating apart is the interactive platform on which it operates. In addition to uploading a digital photograph, you will be asked to select one of six possible avatars, which will represent you while in the virtual dating environment. When you are ready to go on a date and have found another member that you would like to share the experience with, the click of a button can get things started right away. Conduct a search to see what members are online and available for a date. If you find someone of interest, you can invite them on a virtual date at which point your potential date will have a few minutes to review your profile and decide whether or not to accept your invitation. In the event that the member you would like to date is not online or is not available, you can always send him/her a message to schedule a virtual date for a later date and time.
After you have sent an invitation, you will be asked to choose a background setting for your date. There are a variety of settings to choose from including things like a coffee shop, a trendy bar, or a relaxing patio beach scene. Once the date begins, the avatars selected by each member are shown together in the chosen setting and communication is achieved via a text box similar to instant messaging. As the virtual daters type text into their respective boxes, dialogue bubbles appear above each avatar and depending on what is said, facial expressions and certain mannerisms are reflected accordingly. In addition to the text box, each user has a control panel displaying potential moves that their avatars can make. The panel gives each user the option to flirt, touch hand, blow kiss, touch face, or kiss. If either user decides to kiss the other, their date will be given the choice to accept or reject the advance. There are also a variety of smileys to choose from and if you type “LOL” into the text box, your avatar responds by actually laughing. All the while, there is music playing in the background, which can be changed by either user at anytime. If things get awkward at any point, there is an option to play a game that will help get the conversation flowing. Once you have had enough, the click of a button ends the date as quickly as it began.
The general idea behind virtual dating is that by experiencing real-time interactions with potential matches online, users will waste less time going on traditional dates with unsuitable partners and will enhance their chances of connecting in person with a partner that they have already shared an interactive, online experience with. Virtual dating allows singles to mingle interactively without the safety concerns that plague traditional, face-to-face meetings.
If you are curious about virtual dating and want to try it out, register for an account with OmniDate, which currently provides virtual dating services to the public entirely free of charge so there is nothing to lose.