There are two problems to being in a bar or cafe and walking over to talk to a stranger.
1. You don't know anything about them
2. You fear to walk over in case they don't want to talk to you - you fear rejection
Is there a new solution to this old problem? You carry a smart phone, they carry a smart phone. You are both carrying a high powered internet connected communication device. How do you use it to solve these problems. Let's take the second more difficult problem and answer that first.
How do you start a conversation without any fear of rejection? Use a two-way 'hi'
Give a mutual confirmation of interest in talking without either side knowing about it until both sides have confirmed.
Let's say Tom and Sarah are in a bar with smart phones. They have a list of all the other people in that bar on their smart phones along with their pictures. Next to each person, is a 'hi' button. Tom clicks 'hi' next to Sarah's picture. The key point is that Sarah is not told of Tom's 'hi' attempt! Otherwise, if Sarah is informed and did not want to talk then she could ignore that 'hi' and that would be a form of rejection for Tom and also cause Sarah some discomfort. Only if Sarah also clicks 'hi' next to Tom's picture do both those 'hi's turn green indicating mutual interest. If the 'hi' was ignored, Tom does not mind as Sarah was never informed of his interest and there was no embarrassment involved.
It's a zero rejection system which increases the speed in which we meet people. Why isn't this already mainstream? It does not work on a social network of thousands but it does work within a bar, cafe or hotel lobby for example which has anywhere from 2 to 200 people. It simply was not possibly without a universal portable internet enabled device. We are hitting mass market with these devices and this type of solution is now possible.
Once you've walked over to someone, what do you talk about? You talk about your common interests.
It's always great to find out that someone has something in common with you as that helps you get into the conversational flow that will show a persons deeper character.
Is it possible to find out what you have in common without reading a biography? Yes it is.
If Tom and Sarah had a list of common interest tags to choose from and they were shown their tag matches when they were in the same venue together then they have something to talk about. If they want to talk, then that is easy via a two-way 'hi'
There is a third problem. Wouldn't it be nice to go out and be in a venue with the right people in the first place? If Sarah did not 'hi' Tom back or vice versa, wouldn't it be great if there were others to say 'hi' to?
Can you put me in a bar full of singles tonight? Or better still, a street where every bar was full of singles? Absolutely.
Let's say that 20,000 singles indicated on their mobiles that they were heading out tonight. When they are out at bars they 'check-in' to those bars. Suddenly, that information is available to every other single person showing a 'singles map' of the city. Is somebody single going to choose a place with 5 singles in it or 50? You can guess what will happen. Singles will naturally gather together in bars and potentially fill up entire streets every night they go out.
So, is location based dating going to change the industry? Yes.
While more and more people have taken to sitting at desks and signing up to online dating, the easiest way to really get a good look at a potential date is to see them in the same bar as you. Do you match up in personality? Use tags to find out. Are they interested? Use two-way 'hi' and find out.
Is there a service out there that already does all of this? Likeourselves.com
Likeourselves is not strictly a dating service. It's simply a way for people to meet and the purpose of their meeting might be for friendship, for a relationship, for business or just to meet new people. Singles is one of many groups on likeourselves. Others include Expats, Students, Flatmate seekers etc. You can also create your own group. When you check-in, you do so with all your groups and tags and so you are more than just, for example, single. You are an artist, a photographer, a movie fan, a startup co-founder etc.
The site is in live beta and you can sign up for one of the test days if you are in London or create your own group for your own users. Maybe even be the owner of the singles group for your city.
If you have your own website, with your own user base then certainly create your own group. You get your own group page to send people directly to and you can watch your membership grow and have your users meet 'offline' via your tags which increases their bond to your site.
Also, see the following posts on how Likeourselves.com will give each city it's own location based network http://blog.likeourselves.com/2010/10/why-ever-city-will-have-its-own.html and how it's equivalent to a location based version of twitter: http://blog.likeourselves.com/2010/09/how-twitter-followers-relate-to.html?spref=tw