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There’s an App for That: Troubadour Love Meets 21st Century Dating Site

The verse “Match Maker, Match Maker, make me a match” is ringing across the country.  Meanwhile, e-commerce dating sites are springing up rapidly, capitalizing on advances in social media and big data analysis.  An upcoming mobile dating application, Hinge, is examining changes to their business model to provide services and products ahead of the competition.  Hinge uses a unique algorithm by pairing friend-of-friends from Facebook through shared profession, education history, interests, and romantic history on the app.  Unlike other companies in the e-dating space, like Tinder, a dating app that puts a premium on objectifying other users based on a few pictures and a small blurb, Hinge offers its users a limited set of data-driven potential matches per day, to allow its users to carefully consider each match.Hinge is aware that Tinder is marketing toward a younger audience, users mostly in their 20s and 30s, utilizing geographic location to connect potential candidates.  Hinge takes it a step further by targeting young professionals by bringing in a sense of security, as a user’s next match will not be a “psychopath you read about on the Huffington Post last week, [because] after all, you know them.  Or at least a friend knows them.  Or a friend of a friend” (Reston).  Employing Facebook’s established friend networks, Hinge creates matches where a connection already exists. To increase revenue and maximize profitability, Hinge is launching into a new vertical, reviving a traditional dating technique that was popular in the 12th century.  Using Google’s newly invented cross-century communications system, Google Century Talk, [imaginary-has not yet been invented by Google, but I’m sure they’re working on this] contemporary users can communicate with their counterparts from centuries past.  At a recent strategic brainstorming session at Hinge, CEO Justin McLeod was apprised of this newly-developed technology, Google Century Talk, and is investigating the adoption and integration of a new Hinge troubadour platform, combining poetry and music in order to attract a powerful demographic in a new vertical. After a comprehensive analysis and research, the Hinge team has found that utilizing Google Century Talk to reach troubadours of the 12th century can add a new dimension while greatly advancing their dating app solutions.  NO other player in the e-dating sector has yet to integrate troubadour attributes into their offerings.  Hinge will be the first, gaining a competitive edge within their vertical.  Hinge selects troubadour poetry, instead of Petrarchan love sonnets, for its accessibility, its public performance, and its multimedia aspects.  Applying these aspects, the modern dating app seeks to integrate barrier-less, social, and multimedia attributes in their platforms. Deploying Google Century Talk, the executive team at Hinge makes contact with prominent troubadour Bernart de Ventadorn.  While his biography is uncertain, we know that Bernart de Ventadorn was “one of the most popular poets of his own day, judging from the numerous manuscripts of his songs, and from the many poets who allude to, or imitate, his work” (Goldin, 108).  Bernart de Ventadorn was able to play on the perspectives of his audience and sing of the highest forms of love.  Hinge believes that by integrating troubadour insight into their e-platform, Hinge can offer a powerful “new” model, attracting a larger customer base, a vertical ignored by their competition. In this project, I compare the mechanism and ideologies of the troubadours to 21st century dating apps.  Bernart de Ventadorn joins the Hinge team.  By hiring Bernart de Ventadorn as a consultant, Hinge learns about three important methodologies and ideologies, fin’amor, sincerity and authorship, and companho competition.  First, I explore fin’amor for Hinge because this dating app, unlike the solution offered by their competitor Tinder, which I characterize as fals’amor, is a refined, relationship-building app.  Through the application of themes on the codes of love from Roland Barthes and Linda Patterson, the objective for both the troubadours and Hinge, is to offer fin’amor to its target audience.  Like the audience in the courtly environment, the users on this dating app are selective, already present within the codes of matchmaking. Second, I examine sincerity and authorship of the troubadours and allow the Hinge team to apply these concepts.  Like the troubadours' innovations of new patterns of verbal sound, Hinge’s premium users can also apply  “combination and recombination [to serve] as a powerful stimulus” (Switten).  Switten teaches us that there is no one author, that users can also be “authors.”  Through Taruskin, I explore true authenticity and historical verisimilitude, allowing our users to pay tribute to the “authentic” artist and to permit modern interpretations.  I also reference Barthes to explain that the authentic performance of both the troubadour and the app user should avoid the “ideal,” but rather focus on the “process.”  The Hinge executive team can bring authenticity to their new platform. Third, I investigate the competition aspect of troubadour lyrics by reviewing Gaunt in “Poetry of Exclusion.”  While the troubadour not only professed love objectively, there often existed another layer, a secondary purpose, where the troubadour was exhibiting his women in the public domain.  Bringing this same concept to the e-dating app, adding this “option” to make the user’s lyrics public, acts as a deliberate display of the user’s abilities and accomplishments.Rereading the troubadour lyrics from the 21st century lens allows Hinge to exploit the interactive dimension, improving contemporary dating techniques.  Below is a transcript of the e-exchange and performance, between the Hinge team and Bernart de Ventadorn.

DLCL 121: Performing the Middle Ages (FRENCH 151)
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