Think of the concept of Datesocial as a group date for the digital age. Singles (and their friends) can sign up for one of the events online and then show up at the designated event for an in-person experience.
Co-founder and CEO Ian Lang explained that 20 men and 20 women can participate in each event, and they are split into groups of four. The groups are each paired up for 12 minutes at a time — we’re told that’s long enough to make an impression, but not so long as to make things awkward. At the end, participants turn in a list of up to five people they’d like to see again. If there’s a mutual match, Datesocial will re-introduce them via email within 24 hours.
“Basically, we’re taking that great experience at a bar that happens when you and a group of your friends meets a group of guys/girls, and making it a little more focused, safer and comfortable for everyone involved,” Lang said.
Lang is a senior columnist for AskMen.com and stumbled upon the idea while doing research about dating trends.
“It was clear based on the success of sites like Grouper that the next big thing in ‘online dating’ wasn’t online at all, but rather using the web to facilitate real life interactions,” said Lang. “One night, my wife and I were having drinks outside at Toscana Grill [in Courthouse], and there was a speed dating event next door at Velocity 5. It seemed kind of awkward, and at first we joked about how we could do better. Eventually, we stopped joking, and about a month later Datesocial was born, with my wife Ashley and I as the founders.”
The first Datesocial event in Arlington will take place this Friday, June 21, at Velocity 5 (2300 Clarendon Blvd). Anyone interested in participating can sign up online. Registration is $5.