If there is a topic that unites people on the right and left, it’s the malfeasance by Big Tech. People on the Right seem to feel that Big Tech muzzles them and favors more progressive messages. People on the Left see Big Tech as enabling misinformation and stoke the fires of hate and grievance. People with a more moderate view still view Big Tech with suspicion and as “bad actors.”
That’s why Vox’s Land Of The Giants podcast has, through six seasons, pulled back the curtain on Big Tech. For those who have not listened to these seasons, I highly recommend them. The seasons are not hatchet jobs of evil tech companies, but more an investigation of what they are, what they are trying to do to us, and how we can respond.
Last week, it was exciting to hear that Land of the Giants, the Vox Media Podcast Network’s award-winning narrative franchise, has launched its seventh season, Dating Games. Marking a collaboration between two of Vox Media’s editorial brands, The Cut and The Verge, the six-episode series will examine the multi-billion dollar dating app industry and explore whether the business goals of the companies behind them are aligned with users’ romantic aspirations.
In this season of Land of the Giants, The Verge and New York Magazine’s The Cut trace the evolution of the multi-billion dollar dating app industry. Hosts Sangeeta Singh Kurtz and Lakshmi Rengarajan delve into users’ burning questions, from the functional — like how the apps’ algorithms affect your matches — to the sociological, like “Why does dating feel broken?” Episodes will cover the business models of the leading apps, the upstarts and niche platforms that are angling for a share of the market, the measures that users take to gain control over their dating app destinies, and how the future of dating is being shaped by the lessons of today’s dating app marketplace.
Land of the Giants is Vox Media’s narrative franchise about big technology and its impact on our lives. In previous seasons, the show has told the stories of companies like Meta, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google, and unboxed the evolving world of food delivery.
Hosted by Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz (senior staff writer, The Cut) and Lakshmi Rengarajan (host, Paired by the People), the season will feature interviews with the founders of apps like Tinder and Bumble, Match Group executives, as well as former Tinder engineers, data scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, app users, and more. The first episode is out, and available here.
Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz is a senior staff writer at The Cut and New York Magazine, and a contributor at Architectural Digest, A24, and more. She was previously a writer for the global business publication Quartz, where she reported on technology and culture.
Lakshmi Rengarajan has spent over a decade building ways for people to meet others beyond the dating apps, first by reimagining the singles event. Starting as a leader in the in-person dating space, she was then recruited by Match.com as their Director of Event Design. After Match, she went on to become WeWork’s first Director of Workplace Connection to build actual strategies and tactics to address the changing nature of work relationships. (Wow! She must have stories to tell about WeWork.)
Her podcast Paired By The People takes a look at the forgotten art of the set-up.
“Last summer, New York polled thousands of daters about their habits, horror stories, and what they’ve learned from a decade of using dating apps. I spoke with hundreds of them,” says Singh-Kurtz. “Almost everyone felt burnt out by the apps, and almost everyone blamed themselves, but after nearly a year of reporting this series, we can confidently say daters aren’t the problem — the apps are.”
“I’ve often said, ‘It’s not the existence of dating apps that we should worry about — it’s their dominance.’ What do we lose as individuals and a society when dating apps become the default way to find a relationship?,” says Rengarajan. “I’m excited that Sangeeta and I will be shedding light on this industry and how it’s fundamentally changed us, so that people will be more informed as they choose whether to download or delete.”
Named by Adweek as 2021’s “Hottest in Podcasts,” Vox Media Podcast Network has over 150 active shows featuring industry-leading editorial voices and storytellers from Vox Media’s networks and beyond. Learn more about the Vox Media Podcast Network here.
Dating apps can facilitate long-term relationships and friendships, but they can also be a marketplace where the strong prey on the weak. Care is always needed. Consider that one woman recently told the media that she went on a creepy date after meeting Idaho murderer Evan Kornberger online on a dating app in 2015.
Check out Land Of The Giants. Then maybe swipe left.
About the Creator
I am a South Jersey-based author who is a writer for the Pod-Alization podcast blog on Substack, Ear Worthy on Medium, Podcast Reports on Blogger, Auditorily on Vocal and The Listening Post on Tealfeed.