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  • Writer's pictureMike Hanna

Has Software Changed Valentine's Day?



Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror for now—until next year, at least. But the ways that technology and software have changed Valentine’s Day are still very applicable the other 364 days of the year. Software has impacted pretty much every area of life, including the ways we interact with significant others—or find them in the first place. Here are 5 ways software (especially mobile applications) has changed the way we send roses, cards, and chocolate—and interact with significant others in general.


Apps have changed the way we meet people.


Dating is the obvious subset of relationship-related concerns that has been impacted by technology. Once upon a time, people met significant others through the workplace, mutual acquaintances, or at a social event like a party. And while that’s still true for a significant portion of couples, around 40% of couples meet online—making it the most popular way to meet someone. Part of this matchmaking process is facilitated by machine learning algorithms that take responses to quizzes or analyze user behavior to start sending better matches.


For example, a dating app user might be prompted to answer a series of questions about favorite activities, personal beliefs, and thoughts about how relationships should function. Based on these answers, they may be given suggestions for specific matches out of the dating pool. The dating app market has already surpassed $5.6 billion in revenue, with 330 million users worldwide. One way that apps have changed the dating game is by creating specific communities where singles can meet like-minded people. But by the same token, dating apps have allowed singles to expand potential matches far outside their social circle.


Apps have changed the way we date.


For those couples that do meet someone through an app or online, they will eventually need to meet in reality. A couple might agree to meet at a mutually favorite place, or the app they meet on might suggest one—based on popularity, price range, and mutual interests. As it turns out, most couples have their first date at Starbucks, according to dating app Clover, followed by Chipotle, Panera Bread, The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse.


Dinner and a movie might be a good go-to, but what about something a little more creative? That’s where technology comes in again. The Cobble app helps couples find date night activities, restaurants, and even shows. The interface of the app is similar to dating apps, where users can swipe left to pass and right to choose. These apps usually start out in one location like New York before rolling out to other cities like Los Angeles or Atlanta. A couple relying on their own ideas for what to do might still use an app like Yelp to read restaurant reviews. Alternatively, they might order food through something like DoorDash and stream a movie through Hulu or Netflix—creating an entire evening based around apps.


Apps have changed the way we shop.


Picking out a gift for a significant other can still be a challenge for both genders, although some studies have concluded that women are better at picking out gifts than men. Social media may help alleviate some of this confusion through the technology of hashtagging, where users can categorize their posts for greater discoverability. Some of the most popular hashtags are phrases like #giftsforhim (5.2 million posts on Instagram) or #giftsforher (9.6 million posts), which might give other social media users an idea of potential unique gift ideas by quickly scrolling through the results. Admittedly, if those numbers indicate anything, it does seem that men are twice as likely to need help picking out a gift.


A consumer insights study conducted by Google found that 57% of shoppers look to recommendations for gifts. Companies like Amazon have leveraged this sentiment into the art and science of tailoring product suggestions to shoppers via email and in-store as they browse. Personalization results in more conversions. For example, studies have shown as much as a 10% to 15% increase in revenue through personalization. These recommendations are powered by AI that can glean insights from customer behavior, even such behaviors as how they navigate through a website. Someone looking for a gift for a significant other will begin to see new ideas they may not have considered as they begin browsing.


Apps have changed the way we communicate.


Communication is a big part of relationships, and technology is once again involved in shaping that aspect of relationships. Apps like HoneyDew have nothing to “dew” with fruit and everything with sharing to-do lists between two parties, such as a forgetful spouse. Activities can be bracketed based on who is doing them for who and where—outdoor chores, grocery shopping, or things the kids need, for example. Apps like Raft allow couples to sync up their schedules to avoid conflict. Between allows couples to share photos and keep track of important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. And Honeydue (not to be confused with the Honeydo mentioned above) allows couples to keep track of their finances together.


Artificial intelligence and machine learning are even changing the way we talk to one another. Applications like Grammarly can help tongue-tied spouses write a more carefully worded email, which is especially beneficial if there is a charged topic under discussion (of course, Grammarly is also a very useful tool in work settings). Many dating apps will feed you suggestions for icebreakers based on user profiles. Then there are apps like Gather, which are specifically geared toward generating conversation starters or facilitating deeper conversations.


Has software changed how we fall in love?


The jury may be out on that one for a while. Some psychologists have suggested that dating apps have actually made dating worse for some singles, fostering loneliness, anxiety, low self esteem, and body insecurity. Others have pointed out that people can now date beyond their social circle and meet like minded people. And while phones may interfere in couple’s conversation (giving rise to the term phubbing), there are apps that help couples stay more connected and navigate communication issues.


Whatever the case may be, it’s doubtless that software, and specifically app technology, have changed the landscape of dating and relationships. Those effects can be seen on specific days like Valentines Day, but also in larger societal brushstrokes. This is just one of the many areas that are being changed at a rapid rate by technology and the software industry specifically.


Speaking of love—how are you feeling about your own career in software? Selecting a new career path requires a lot more thought than swiping through profiles. And you’ll need to put some more work into it than just using AI-driven conversation starters. Working with a software sales recruiter can help you locate a better opportunity for the remainder of 2023 and beyond. As a software sales headhunter with over 35 years of experience, I’d be happy to discuss your goals whether you’re a job seeker or employer. Send an email to mike@michaelblair.com.

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