To most of us mortals, online dating can be a riddle wrapped in an enigma enveloped in something else confusing. Sometimes, the lack of success is the result of a bad start, as below.
Needless to say, my Tinder match didn’t respond very well to that opener. In fact, she didn’t respond at all. Oh well, you live and you learn.
The thing is, you don’t always have to learn by accidentally firing off a Beyonce gif and deciding to be unapologetic about it. You could learn from people who have experience messing things up themselves, which is what we call advice. And when sagely advice from clueless friends and anonymous strangers online fails, you could turn to the expert dating professionals on WittyThumbs.
“Despite being such a critical part of the modern dating process, online conversations are still a mystery to most people,” says founder Liron Shapira. That’s what led him and co-founder Lior Gotesman to create WittyThumbs, a place online where you can get experts’ feedback on how to build a rapport with someone in whom you’re interested. Nothing is off the table, and the advice covers writing opening messages, deciphering received messages, figuring out whether someone likes you, staying out of the friend zone, and even how to get exes back (if you really must).
There are a couple of ways in which you can go about using WittyThumbs to level up your online conversation game. The first is via a free feedback feature. Users are required to upload screenshots of a conversation, and one of the handpicked dating experts on the platform provides annotated feedback on specific messages, as well as an overall analysis of the exchange. The screenshots along with the expert’s thoughts on them are made available for the community to view so that everyone can learn from your blooper reel. Users are kept anonymous, of course.
The other option WittyThumbs offers is a paid service. This service gives users direct access to the platform’s dating experts or coaches, to whom they can take their doubts through a live chat interface. The credits required to access them start at $29 for 30 minutes of advice up to $79 for 2 hours.
The landscape of online dating advice runs the gamut from individual experts to courses by pickup artists to startups that use technology to scale knowledge dissemination. Some can cost as much as $5,000 for intensive programs, while others let you crowdsource conversational tips from friends and strangers for free or a small fee. Based on the price point, WittyThumbs appears to be positioning itself as an affordable alternative to one-on-one dating coaching.
When it comes to patterns in online dating, the founders believe that most people tend to make the same mistakes across apps and messaging platforms. “We’re seeing the same mistakes now as we did 5 years ago,” Shapira explains. And while there seems to be plenty of advice on how to get matches, guidance on keeping conversations alive seems to be rarer. “Most of the work of dating involves messaging your match and trying to make a connection over text, setting up a date, making a connection in person, and forming a longer term relationship; that’s where we come in to help.”
There seems to be enough of demand for that help right now for the founders to feel vindicated. Over a thousand people have paid for the live-chat service so far, and that number seems to be increasing steadily. In fact, things are going well enough that Liron believes they’re “on track to become the number one most well-known and trustworthy brand for instant and affordable dating advice.” Meanwhile, if somebody could tell me how to avoid opening with Beyonce gifs on Tinder, that would be great.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.