Video Dates: The Worst Trend To Hit Mobile and Online Dating?

Alas, I'm here to announce possibly the worst trend to hit online dating in years: video dates. Does anything sound worse than video chatting with a total stranger? Video conference calls with colleagues and Facetime calls with friends are bad enough — the technology to make video calling totally seamless just hasn't arrived yet. And until that day, video calling will only make a first "dates" more hopelessly awkward.

Yet, somehow, pre-date video calls are supposed to help daters determine "chemistry." According to USA Today, "video chats may replace that first face-to-face meeting" as online and mobile dating startups offer the option. Video via mobile dating apps is a particularly new phenomenon, albeit one that's catching on quickly. "Video communication is coming into its own," said Nick Bicanic, creator of Flikdate, a real-time video dating app that bills itself as "the fastest date in the world".

Sounds like we can expect to see a lot more video-dating options in the future. In addition to Flikdate there's already, Video Date, View N Me, and Instamour. And perhaps as the kinks get ironed out, the whole experience will start to sound less excruciatingly awful. Facetime already seems to be an improvement, image-quality wise, over desktop video calling options like Skype and Facebook video.

There are things you can't get out of text-based communication. But as of now, I don't see much advantage in a pre-IRL video date with someone as opposed to a good old-fashioned phone call.