Should You Be Dating Your LinkedIn Network?

A new mobile dating app blithely violates the rule not to mix work and romance.

Posted May 05, 2014

When something new comes over the horizon that affects people's sex and relationship lives, chances are you'll see it first on Twitter.  

This past week was no exception.

Somewhere on my Twitter-feed came a tweet about a new app that allows people to mine their business contacts for dating opportunities:  LinkedUp! The article came from the Australian business magazine @SmartCompany (which I certainly wouldn't have seen if not for Twitter).    

What caught my eye was that LinkedUp! seemed similar to Tinder, a major player now in mobile online dating that allows people to connect instantly if they like each other's Facebook pictures. (The idea for Tinder came originally from Grindr, a hook-up app for gay men).  

LinkedUp! connects to your LinkedIn the same way Tinder connects to Facebook.  It scours your LinkedIn network for people you might like to date—who have also signed up for LinkedIn! (So in case it turns out to have been indiscreet, you're both motivated to keep it secret).

Of course, we usually advise people NOT to mix business and romance. So mashing up Tinder and LinkedIn sounded at first glance like a very bad idea. But something about it intrigued me.  

If you followed me on Twitter at @SexualityToday, then last Friday you would have received the following message from me, alerting you to this interesting phenomenon ---


Over the weekend, I realized what had intrigued me about LinkedUp! It was the frustration of so many of my sex therapy patients who kept meeting people online with whom they had very little in common.  

Most of the people I see in the office work very long hours. So their business community is often closer and more intimate than their home community. I wondered if LinkedUp! might tap this power of one's work community for human connection—and maybe lead to more promising dates.  

On Sunday, I wrote out this idea as a blog article:  
Manhattan Sex Therapist Discusses "LinkedUp!" - The New Dating App for Business
and of course tweeted a link to it —

In the article, I discussed the risks and benefits to mixing work and romance. But the following tweet captured the ambiguity of the subject much better --


The power of a social network like Twitter is that somewhere in the world someone is envisioning exactly what you need to worry about—

Someone once defined "news" as "the first draft of history."  I'll be interested in finding out whether in the long-run LinkedUp! turns out to be worth the risk for people. In the meantime, I'll mention it cautiously to certain patients.  

And I'll keep listening on Twitter—to find out what others are saying about it.

Intrigued? You should be. Stay tuned, and we'll do more of this together.  

Copyright © Stephen Snyder, MD   2014 New York City

Follow Dr Snyder on twitter:  @sexualityToday

See also:

Manhattan Sex Therapist Discusses "LinkedUp!" - The New Dating App for Business

A sex therapist's guide to twitter, Part 1