What Was the Equivalent of Tinder in the 1970s?

Long before "swiping right" led to a date, people had to work to find romance. In the 1970s, a few companies saw the need for making mingling easier for people who were having trouble meeting potential partners.

With videocassette libraries, video dating companies like Great Expectations paved the way for modern dating apps.
With videocassette libraries, video dating companies like Great Expectations paved the way for modern dating apps.

The solution: Step into a private room and talk about yourself, be it your favorite movie or the basics, like height, age, and job. While you did the talking, a video camera did the filming. Afterward, you'd get to see the result, approve it, and then go home and wait. Sooner or later, someone looking for love would watch a bunch of the videos and, if yours caught their eye, a meeting would be scheduled. After that, it was up to you.

The first commercially successful video-dating business was Jeffrey Ullman's Great Expectations, which, according to legend, launched on Valentine's Day in 1976. Ullman said the success of the company depended at least partly on honesty. "You have to show as much as possible the essence of the person," he said. "If a picture is worth a thousand words, what do you think video with audio is worth — ten million words?" Great Expectations grew for two decades, until the Internet came along and swiped most of its clients in the mid-1990s.

The dating scene:

  • On average, people "get serious" with someone after about six to eight dates; the average time for a split to happen is three to five months.

  • Forty-four percent of Match.com's members in the United States have kids.

  • YouTube was originally launched as a dating service, where members could upload videos of themselves talking about their ideal match.

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    • With videocassette libraries, video dating companies like Great Expectations paved the way for modern dating apps.
      By: lithian
      With videocassette libraries, video dating companies like Great Expectations paved the way for modern dating apps.