Last week, I explored through an online dating website OkCupid.
Some issues with the site:
- primarily used by men aged 25-34
- bad male to female ratio
- not enough photographs posted by users
- long, fake sounding self-summaries
- matches were not geographically close (20 miles+)
Especially from the viewpoint of a busy college student who doesn’t have time to peruse through lengthy profiles of mysterious men with only one too good to be true headshot, the dating app Tinder is a great solution. Appealing to the younger generation, it is used in conjunction with Facebook on your phone. For your profile, Tinder gathers one’s age, location, and sexual preference. Next, one can connect with Facebook and choose up to 5 photos for users to swipe through, which can be “liked”. If two users have mutual “likes”, is created for them to get to know each other and set up a meeting. Justin Mateen, one of Tinder’s founders, reports that 70% of matches have used the app to chat. It’s quick, fast, and flirty.
In class, we’ve discussed how the technology that we use shapes our communication. People are matched up based solely on location, not some elusive personality algorithm. The easygoing nature of Tinder has fostered a hookup culture. The success of the app is in part due to women’s usage of Tinder. Unlike its competitors, one of Tinder’s founders is a woman, Whitney Wolfe. In dating technology, women want a secure, safe, honest place to organize a public meeting ASAP. Because of its partnership with Facebook, most of the general information on Tinder can’t be faked. Additionally, users can only contact each other if the attraction is mutual (no more creepy 40 year olds begging your phone number). Finally, matches are based on location, so arranging to hang out is simple. Personally, I know my friends have used Tinder to score invites to parties on campus. In fact, the app was actually piloted on college campuses, which is another reason why the app is so hot with college students.
My recommendation? For lonely hearts with a short attention span who want a quick date, the 70% success rate doesn’t lie. But for anything more than a shallow hook up, you’re gonna need to put in more legwork than a photo swipe.