SOCIAL MEDIA MAY BE PUSHING HARD AGAINST ONLINE DATING SITES BUT NEVERTHELESS SOME PLATFORMS ARE KEEPING TRADITIONAL ONLINE DATING ALIVE IN NIGERIA.
It’s 2017 and dating sites are still a thing! Yes, you may not believe it but in Nigeria and perhaps Africa, dating sites still play a huge role in social interactions and connections. With a more individualistic culture in the west, random communal interactions barely happen especially among strangers or distant acquaintances. The reality of Nigeria today even in the face of insecurities have not affectedly drastically interaction among strangers and friends. People who do not know each other still say “Good morning” to themselves, a very solid Nigerian culture. People still reach out to random people and the existing communal culture of most African communities have not depreciated much. This unveils a clearly distant reality in the social atmosphere in Africa, one that vary widely from most other parts of the world. Though, social network platforms are shaking online dating media around the world are, online dating platforms have remained both tenacious and relevant in 2017. With popular social networking sites like facebook snatching about a little over 2 billion active monthly users; a significant percentage of the world's population, platforms like Match still boasts of a whooping estimated 35,000,000 site monthly site visit.
Though social network platforms and dating sites are designed to aid connection and interaction of individuals from all over the world, there are some notable differences in structure and interaction approach. Social Networking sites are designed to help users find old friends, old classmates, colleagues, family etc as well as give some room for meeting new people. Under this design anything too forward may be considered inappropriate and might have you labelled or mislabeled as a stalker. On the other hand, Dating sites are designed specifically for strangers to find dates and perhaps scale up to build healthy relationships. Though both can play this same role, both function differently. Signing up on social networking sites and dating sites show a dividing line. While social networking sites allow for basic info on name, birthday, address, likes and dislikes etc, dating sites take users through long questionnaires and then position and group users by their preferences, likes, culture, race, religious sector, ethnicity and other detailed specifics. This feature relieves the user of the burden wallowing through an ocean of unwanted strangers. Lastly most dating sites serve a niche demography and some require some level of payment to grant users access, this on its own is a form of both security and exclusivity gateway.
Dating in the true word of it is interpreted and expressed in very different way in Nigeria (and Africa) unlike in the west. This factor forms a distant meaning to the way dating site play out here. The fact that Nigeria has a rather complex “dating culture” wrapped in a somewhat high level of secrecy plays a huge role in the reality of the low popularity of local dating sites. Tightly held by religion, Nigeria passes as a rather conservative state. However away from the popular social networks like facebook, tinder and the very dating-focused social network, Badoo, some local dating sites are helping Nigerians find love in the most locally peculiar and digital way.
Here are 3 locally designed dating sites stringing the hearts of willing users into love in Nigeria.
Friendite is a Nigerian online dating platform tailoured to meet the dating needs of Nigerians and blacks around the world. With a focus on singles, the Nigerian developed platform has over about registered 86076 members. Available on mobile, friendite has over the years gained popularity in the seemingly not-so-active online dating space. Founded by a Nigerian born and bred Emmanuel Okeke, friendite boasts to be “the Nigerian most popular dating website among singles”, this they state boldly on their website.
On Google Play Store, Friendite has about a range of 5,000 and 10,000 installs. This may not look big but it is commendable. Currently Available only on Android mobile, the 2012 created app has a warm user friendly interface, allowing users share photos, videos and text, as well a use the special “kiss” feature in interacting with potential dates.
NAIJing app, only on mobile offers users familiar interaction features eg. “likes" feature, instant messaging etc. The 2014 launched app has gathered about 100,000 to 500,000 installs. With impressive reviews on Google Play Store, the app is gathering obvious engagements around the country. With an on-mobile only existence, NAIJing is playing strong in the Nigerian Online dating Market. The app is currently available only on Android.
Naijaplanet is a Nigerian developed platform gathering an impressive community of over 44, 000 registered members. The platform offers users easy communication tools from instant messaging to chat rooms to video gallery, message boards and more. The 2008 developed app boasts of 3000 daily visits. With locally bred content, this platform offers most Nigerian singles what they truly want.
Due to the not-so-open market in the country, dating sites are mostly free or very low-cost. Though many have a negative outlook towards online dating sites in Nigeria, this has not stopped the active hundreds and thousands Nigerians finding love on these platforms.