As everyone continues to social distance and self-isolate in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, an intrepid new Instagram account is bringing 2020's hottest new reality show to life. Netflix's Love Is Blind became a viral obsession when it aired throughout the end of February and the beginning of March, and you can bet a lot more people are getting into the streaming series now that the CDC has recommended people to stay indoors as much as possible. To help make social distancing a bit more bearable, the "Love Is Quarantine" Instagram dating game is giving Love Is Blind fans the virtual pod experience... and you don't even have to leave your couch to participate.
Content creator Thi Lam and his roommate Rance Nix chronicled the start of their "Love Is Quarantine" dating game on Tuesday, March 17, a few days after many people across the United States began self-isolation per the CDC's recommendations. As described in the bio of the newly created @LoveIsQuarantine Instagram page, the dating experiment sets participants up in "pandemic pods" to see if they spark a friendship, or even a romance. But people aren't entering pods IRL like they did on Love Is Blind — instead, the whole thing exists on a massive Google spreadsheet, where anyone can sign up and list their phone number. With that information, the organizers set two strangers up on a 30-minute phone call, and each dater reports back to either set up a second date or move on to try things with another potential match.
As of Wednesday morning, the spreadsheet already has more than 200 willing participants signed on to try their luck. Initially, Lam and Nix were looking for just a few contestants to take part in the experiment, but that quickly changed. "We were hoping we'd just get 20, like, friends of friends, and at first it was it was just our guy friends," Lam tells Elite Daily. "We were so worried it was just guys. But there's a lot more girls in now."
The first round of calls, which took place on Tuesday night, consisted of 12 pods, meaning 24 people in total connected with strangers. Lam and Nix say the process for setting up these calls included texting the numbers from the Google spreadsheet to see who replied right away, and then randomly setting the responders with one another. "Once they know the rules and regulations, they're free to call each other," Lam explains. "As they call each other, we ask them to film themselves pre-date, during the date, and post-date, and to keep us posted for the fans to know exactly what's happening in real time."
After the first round of calls, "Love Is Quarantine" has already found some success among its daters. A participant named Katie told the game creators she was interested in going on a second date with the person she was matched with, Steve.
Now the "Love Is Quarantine" spreadsheet includes a lot more names than it did on the first night. With hundreds of people continuing to sign up for the novel dating experiment, Lam and Nix are committed to keeping their selection process completely random, so everyone who signs up has a shot at making it into a "pod."
"We're gonna keep it authentic as possible, and that means very random," Lam says. "We don't even know what they look like. We don't know anything about them. It could be a name, a number, and that's it, and we go from there."
The Instagram dating game is scheduled to hold its second round of phone calls at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 18, and Lam and Nix confirm they are going to keep the game going as long as they can. "We're gonna do this until we have jobs again," Lam jokes.
With the Google spreadsheet already filling up quickly by the minute, now is the best time to jump on board if you are interested in taking part in "Love Is Quarantine." Or, you can just choose to watch the game unfold from afar by following along on Instagram — either way, it's a great opportunity to have some fun while social distancing.
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