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August 14, 2020

Lifestyle

A new dating app that allows users to meet on video chats is catching on in Westchester.
A new dating app that allows users to meet on video chats is catching on in Westchester. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Filter Off

Quarantine Dating Catching On With Westchester Developer's App

Everyone, even the most outgoing singles, experience some awkwardness on first dates.

Talking to a stranger has uneasy silences. And then there's the fumble for the check. Who pays? And what about now, when you cannot even meet in person? How do you date when everyone is living life in isolation?

Filter Off may have an answer for that.

The dating app launched a year ago by a Westchester developer, has been catching on since the health pandemic began.

Twenty-nine-years-old and single,  Zach Schleien of New Rochelle said Filter Off, his video chat dating app, is hitting a high note with county singles as well as with many who live in New York City but are now back in Westchester with their families to ride out COVID-19.

Video chatting is well-suited to help people feel socially connected and find romance, especially now when singles are potentially lonelier than ever, suggested Schleien. Though he launched the app a year ago, over the past several weeks he's seen a spike of dozens of local users and hundreds more from the city.

Filter Off can help people connect romantically while they’re self-quarantined. It’s a live-video dating platform where users get to know potential matches in an intimate 90-second FaceTime-style format, sharing their coronavirus lockdown stories and glimpses into their current social distancing habits and habitats, he explained.

The impetus for Filter Off came after Schleien started using FaceTime ahead of meeting people in person from other online dating sites. 

"I built the app since I was so sick of spending so much swiping and then going on dates only to quickly realized we didn’t vibe. I wanted an easy way to see if we were a potential fit. I always felt video chatting was the most authentic way of getting to know someone in a timely manner," Schleien told Daily Voice Plus.

Schleien explained how his idea is "radically different" from typical swiping platforms. With Filter Off, users "get to know" potential matches in the 90-second timeframe and not just react to someone instantly to swipe right or left.

The app is simple to use. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening, users can pick three "dates," then they have 90 seconds to connect on live video. After the quick chat, they then decide whether to match or pass. If it feels like a match, they can keep chatting with their matches and ask them on a real date. Once you match, you can continue by sending video messages and/or in-app text messages. You can also exchange numbers and set up video dates and text off the app.

Weeks heading into months of isolation will have adverse effects on socialization, especially for singles, so it's not surprising Filter Off is helping people stay connected.

 "As more people self-quarantine across the world, loneliness will exponentially increase. People will have no choice but to socialize over the internet," said Schleien. "With the recent pandemic, the app has drawn 5,000 users. 

"It's an easy way to continue dating while remaining isolated. People are lonely and looking for authentic human connection. Video chatting is the most authentic human experience other than face to face."

He likened the app to speed dating, where daters can chat for the 90-second timeframe and decide if they can give a connection a thumbs up or move on.

But how is this different than making romantic connections on social media like Facebook?

"Well social media is great in keeping in touch, but it’s not meant for dating and meeting singles. I built Filter Off to enable authentic human connection in a romantic sense."

Users can connect with potential matches live Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. via the Filter Off app here.