So how did you two meet, was it through work or mutual friends? No it was through Tinder. This is what we are going to tell our kids when they ask how we met each other. It isn’t going to be the old normal ways, although many people will and still do get together that way, but Tinder or online dating is now an acceptable way to meet someone. Obviously romantic and sexual relationships are a big part of almost every person’s life, whether they are forever or for one night. Over the years as new technology has been invented, the way people experience romantic and sexual relationships has completely changed. From finding a partner, to keeping the relationship going, everything has changed due to technology. The piece of technology I believe that has caused the most change is the smart phone, which has paved the way for constant instantaneous communication and continuous connection to our social world through social media and social dating apps. The dating world is now more open than ever, and now dating is more formal such as boyfriend and girlfriend, and “hooking up” is more like the old version of dating where people may be seeing multiple people at once. Technology has in some ways made relationships stronger but also weaker. With the rise of dating apps and social media once one little fight happens someone can go on their phone and they have 500 other people at their disposal to tell them they are beautiful and to make them happy, instead of working at their relationship like people did 20 or so years ago. Instead of talking with their significant other they now can turn to the dating app or social media sight to get other people to make them feel better. That being said, the mobile phone has brought a lot of good aspects to the area of romantic and sexual relationships. Now couples can stay in contact with each other all the time if that is something they are into, and now people who were having a hard time with traditional dating have another platform they can use to find a potential partner or even a “hookup” if that is what someone is looking for. This brings us to a specific product that, in my opinion, has had an effect on the way people date and is setting the standard for new products like it. This product is Tinder.
Tinder is a mobile phone application that takes the original online dating and streamlines it. It was founded in September of 2012 and has made its way into American and European culture as a staple application although it’s used in over 190 countries. It is currently #72 on the free app list in the Apple app store, and #1 in the lifestyle category. There is no statistic for monthly users because Tinder refuses to release that information but what they do say is their have been over 8 billion connections made since it was first launched (Flynn, 2015). These “matches” happen when two people choose to like each other and therefore show interest in each other. You can either like or pass on someone based on his or her picture and profile. The iconic feature of the app is you can swipe left to pass on someone and swipe right to like someone. The app works where you choose a photo, which is what shows up on the other persons screen, and they can choose to like you right then and there or they can view your profile which can have a few pictures and a very short bio to get someone’s attention and show who you are. If two people both are interested in each other and they both like each other then a match is created. You can go to your match’s page and then from there you can message anyone one of them and they never expire. The idea is from matching and then messaging you can create a conversation and if both of you are still interested numbers can be exchanged and meet ups or dates can be set up from there.
The difference between Tinder and other dating sites like match.com is that Tinder is an app, and it also is so streamlined and quick to use. Instead of putting in all of this information and your interests and everything, it draws minimal information from your Facebook and uses that in your “profile” which like mentioned before is really just a short bio with a few pictures. Instead of the website doing all of the matching for you and giving you the options to choose from, you sift through everyone and make your own decisions with who you actually match with. The other main difference is that the users are basing their opinions and “likes” usually off of just a single photo, not a whole detailed profile.
The fact that this is a smartphone application changes the way people have access to potential dates or “hookups.” Before people had to learn about potential partners through friends, family, or work but now with a bank of people to choose from at the tip of your fingers that is accessible anywhere you go, it is easy for people to find a partner or multiple partners. People can go to their friends house in Boston and log on to tinder, get swiping, find a match and then message them to meet them at the bar they are going to all in the span of an hour or two. This accessibility has paved the way for a hookup type of culture, especially in the young adult community because that is the majority of users who are on Tinder. Around 79% of Tinder users are millennia’s, with 45% of users being 25-35 years old and 38% of users are 18-24 years old (Smtih, 2015). The average time spent on Tinder per day for each user is 12-20 minutes which is really good for a dating app (Smith, 2015).
It became so popular because almost 66% of Americans own a smartphone, and because Tinder was meant for smartphones and so many people have them it became the most accessible form of “dating” (Smith, 2015). It was also received so well because of the communication aspect; you could message your matches right from the app not having to seek another form of communication. Tinder opened up people’s dating options so much, and allowed people to sift through all of those options so efficiently and effectively, more than any other dating method. Perhaps the biggest reason for Tinder diffusing so easily in just 4 years is the reason that is a video game disguised as a dating app. When a person swipes right and “matches” with someone else, dopamine is released in the brain and therefore the person feels happier, just like the effects of certain drugs (Hillin, 2015). Getting a match boosts people self esteem, and the continuous process of swiping right or left is also addicting and plays into people’s boredom. Now just like Facebook, when people are bored they pick up their phone and start swiping, it because a habit they don’t even realize they are engaging in. Which brings us to the true positives and negatives about this dating, *ahemmm* (hookup, self esteem-boosting, use out of habit), smartphone application.
Now Tinder’s original purpose was truly to bring couple together to create long term lasting romantic relationships, or was it? We may never know the true goals of Tinder’s founders but what we do now is that it is now mainly used as a hookup app or almost boredom filler. Judging based solely off looks or a one-sentence bio is giving Tinder users no real info on the person they are looking to date. That is what leads to hookups happening because judging off of looks works well if you just want to hookup with no feelings, but judging based off of interests, long bios and meaningful conversation is what truly leads to long term strong relationships. So the positives about Tinder are, they make people feel better about themselves, if you are looking for hookups then totally go for this app, and if you are bored and need something to do go ahead and give it a shot, and yes the off chance you get a real date and you stay in love forever is a good thing as well. Now for the negatives, easier to cheat on your significant other because you have a large pool of other men and women right at your finger tips, it is hard to get a real date on Tinder, it creates a habit out of something that is meant to help your communication and relationships, and lastly is it plays into a hookup culture which in some ways is undermining true relationships. That being said it is fun to use, you just need to know your own reasons for using the app and judge if it is right for you. If you are using it for true love you might want to look elsewhere, but for a small fling with the kid from your bio class who you never would have talked too let alone noticed, then I say totally go for it.
Flynn, K. (2015, August 12). How Many People Are On Tinder? Company Defends With ‘Actual Data’ In Vanity Fair Comeback. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.ibtimes.com/how-many-people-are-tinder-company-defends-actual-data-vanity-fair-comeback-2050092
Hillin, T. (2015, March 2). Yes, You Can Actually Be Addicted to Tinder. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://fusion.net/story/42161/addicted-to-tinder/
Smith, A. (2015, April 01). U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/
Smith, C. (2015, February 21). 37 Impressive tinder Statistics. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/tinder-statistics/2/