Generation Z are ready to reboot dating

social media
category - dating
type - big idea
Big Idea
category - digital
sector - media & technology
sector - youth
Marc Baghadjian, co-founder of Gen Z dating app Lolly, on how post-pandemic connections will be defined by video crushes and non-committal mindsets

Can you explain the concept behind Lolly?

Lolly is the most fun way to date. We bring short-form video into the dating arena because Gen Z have a lot of stories to tell. We want to be funny. We want to show off our cooking skills, or our friends dancing at a bar. On Tinder, we could only be hot. But on Lolly, you can be interesting and funny.

Video is a tool that allows you to tell your story in a multidimensional way. You can vicariously see other people on Lolly and think: ‘I want to hang out with them.’ We've always been attracted to funny people with strong personalities. But we haven't had platforms that let you find them.

The dating market is dominated by Millennial apps such as Tinder and Hinge. Why has it taken so long for a Gen Z dating app to disrupt the market?

The incumbents in our sector are not innovating. There's going to be a big winner in this space for Gen Z, and we feel it’s going to be us. I’m 21, and I’m just now ageing into a place where I’m able to execute Gen Z’s vision while being young enough to understand what Gen Z want. The new social age is starting to happen. There's going to be a whole influx of new community and video platforms we haven't seen before, and they’re going to be Gen Z-driven.

Published by:

1 June 2021

Author: Kathryn Bishop and Savannah Scott

Image: Match branding by Collins, US



The user experience of Lolly moves away from the functionality of swiping in favour of clapping. What inspired that?

We've completely got rid of the old swiping mechanism, which I think has almost corroded our ability to build intimate relationships with other people. You don't find someone attractive; you swipe left. When has dating ever been that binary? For Lolly, we looked at social networks. The best dating platform isn’t Tinder – it's Instagram. We want to emulate a bar-type situation where you see someone that's cool and want to meet them. So, you clap their content. You tap and hold your screen to clap. Then, if you're interested, you slide into their DMs. If you're not, you just skip their video. That's it. You don't take this categorical decision to just axe someone's entire identity because they're not your type.

In previous years, Gen Z were noted as being less open to social encounters than previous generations. Do you expect this mindset to change as we emerge from the pandemic?

People are going go to go back to these in-person experiences in a big way. New behaviours and technologies that have been adopted will stick around. But at the root of it, a year of the pandemic is not enough to reverse hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection. We will go back to socialising in groups. But now that we are in an era of cleanliness, we’ll be more particular about who we hang out with and where we go. I think Gen Z are going to be conditioned to wearing a mask, and we’ll be a cleaner generation. I don't think there'll be a huge hedonistic wave, but travel is going to blow up after Covid. We're still going to go to clubs. We're still going to do heinous things.

‘There’s going to be a whole influx of new community and video platforms we haven’t seen before, and they’re going to be Gen Z-driven’
Marc Baghadjian, co-founder, Lolly

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