Love at first byte

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First there was broadband religion (www.broadbandreligion.co.uk). Now cable company Telewest, which has around 350,000 broadband customers, is behind a new – and completely different – initiative to sell people the benefits of a fast, always-on Internet connection.

Virtual speed dating is the latest twist on the speed dating phenemenon that is taking the singles circuit by storm. Only instead of meeting your partner for a four minute date in person, you meet them over a videoconferencing webcam in an Internet cafe.

Held on Monday night in a bar in Camden, north London, the UK’s first virtual speed dating event was arranged in conjunction with website Speeddater (www.speeddater.co.uk). Around a dozen girls hooked up with a dozen guys – many of them hundreds of miles away – via webcam.

And despite a few teething problems (mostly involving the guys disappearing off to the loo to calm their pre-date nerves) the event seemed to go pretty well with the girls – who were all wearing headsets and mîcrophones – all flirting with the fellas as if they were in the same room. One woman insisted that the guys showed their feet over the webcam. On another occasion a bloke flashed his belly to prove he wasn’t a fatty.

So why virtual speed dating, other than a shameless publicity seeking exercise to boost Telewest’s broadband numbers, Tech Digest asked Mark Mulder, Head of Content and Services at Telewest? “”Everyone’s tried different ways of bringing broadband to life using video clips and music. It’s getting a bit dull. But virtual speed dating is absolutely unique.” Oh, that and the fact that the guys at Telewest – and journos from Tech Digest – get to eye-up some single women.

For the full story go to The Daily Mirror’s website.

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