Dating your LinkedIn Network
In the beginning there was Grindr. Developed by and for gay men, Grindr used the power of satellite technology to enable any man with a mobile phone to find compatible partners in his zip code — and to hook up with them in 15 minutes or less.
Grindr begat Tinder. Using the same satellite technology as Grinder, a single straight woman with a Tinder app on her mobile phone could locate an attractive male partner in her zip code and arrange a date in 15 minutes or less.
Tinder used what’s called an API key to access data from her Facebook page and the Facebook page of the man in question. It’s the same kind of API key that you use to open Twitter with your Facebook account. All perfectly legal and essentially safe.
But the single straight woman in the example above still had a problem. Unless she was looking for a quick hook-up, it wasn’t very likely she’d have anything in common with any man she met on Tinder. It was all a question of looks — the equivalent of hanging out in a bar. Not necessarily the best way to meet a compatible partner for anything but a fling.
Might there be a way to use this same API key technology to access the kind of information people really need if they’re looking for serious relationships? Real relationships happen when people have shared interests and common backgrounds. That’s why people tend to fall in love with their co-workers.
When most of us work at least 12 hour days anyway, who really understands your joys and sorrows better than the person in the next cubicle? But how does one find such people online?
On LinkedIn, of course. Though a romance with someone in your own office is usually a bad idea, on LinkedIn you’re connected to people in your entire industry — and to people in related industries. People who are far more likely to share your values, educational level, and interests than that handsome stranger from Tinder last weekend with whom you had nothing in common.
And so, just as Grindr begat Tinder, Tinder in turn begat LinkedUp!
With the power of the API key, you can now use LinkedUp! to search your LinkedIn contact list for potential romantic partners. It’s the virtual equivalent of chatting in the office cafeteria with that cute person who works down the hall.
Chances are you’ll know many of the same people and share similar struggles and aspirations. If you turn out to like each other, you’ll have the benefit of having lots to talk about for a long time. That might make it easier to trust each other — perhaps the most valuable thing of all.
As a sex and relationship therapist who spends his life helping people cultivate intimate relationships, I’m hopeful that LinkedUp! will turn out to be a very useful app indeed. I look forward to hearing from my single patients whether it lives up to its promise, or whether the mixture of business and personal life will prove to be too perilous or confusing.
It will be remarkable if a platform whose electronic grandfather was (and still is) a hookup app turns out to be a valuable tool for people looking for love and marriage. But stranger things have happened.
I’ll keep you posted.