Andrew and Elija Sorensen, father and son respectively, built Gather because they believe there has to be a better way to integrate the internet and ubiquitous computing into dating, courtship, and social interaction in general.
It has become virtually illegal to strike up a conversation with a stranger on the street or in a bar in many cities, meanwhile the technologies that have supposedly replaced this mode of spontaneous connection are generally unsatisfying. Pew Research says that nearly half of U.S. adults say that dating has gotten harder in the last 10 years rather than easier.
Having spent much of the last ten years pushing startup projects in commercial and industrial technology, they turned their efforts to remediating the damage done by social media in general and dating apps and sites in specific after a number of disappointing personal experiences that would be familiar to most people who have been single for any length of time recently enough for there to have been broadband internet.
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“The ‘new normal’ is soul-sucking… If you’re single, you virtually must turn to dating apps as a way to meet people. In the past five years, I have noticed the sharp decline in the number of people willing to mix and mingle while out and about; we simply don’t have to anymore. Want to meet someone in a bar? Or at a social event? If you talk to a stranger, you’re more inclined to get funny looks than a phone number. It’s much easier to sit on your couch with a glass of wine and your swiping finger ready…”
“… An even bigger problem may be the extent to which romantic pursuit is now being cordoned off into a predictable, prearranged online venue, the very existence of which makes it harder for anyone, even those not using the apps, to extend an overture in person without seeming inappropriate. What a miserable impasse.”
“...a recent survey from UK-based dating app Badoo showed more than three-quarters of singles felt burnt out by unrewarding interactions and inappropriate matches from platforms and apps. Research from Hinge also found a significant portion of its users (61%) were overwhelmed by the modern dating process, and an April 2022 US study showed four in five adults “experienced some degree of emotional fatigue or burnout from online dating.”