Tinder has been given a bad rep as of late, being seen as the straight alternative to app ‘Grindr’. But is it all about NCMOs (Non-Committal Make Outs) or is there more to this addictive app?
Tinder has become a sensation in the short amount of time since it hit our app stores in 2012. If you haven’t heard of it, the basic functionality of Tinder has you swiping ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a person based solely on the images they have provided, mutual friends, a short optional bio and even similar likes; all managed through a link to Facebook. If both users swipe ‘like’ on each other a match is created and they can start chatting with each other - simple!
This simplicity has made it an essential tool in today’s dating world due to its ease of use and game-like setup. Tinder’s Justin Mateen says that on average users are logging in 11 times per day, with an average session time of seven minutes. Just have a peek at people’s phones next time you’re waiting in a queue at a coffee shop, on a train, or for those students out there, in your lecture theatres - chances are you’ll see them swiping ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on someone’s picture.
I have to say I agree that it’s an essential part of the dating world now; it is a fun, light hearted time filler and who doesn’t fancy the chance to match with one of the Sochi Olympians or the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Ashton Kutcher who might just happen to be walking down Norwich high street - and thus in your location search. Let’s face it, when we work as many hours as we do and have so many other commitments there is little time to socialise or to go out of your way to meet new people. This app fulfils this desire, on the go.
Despite this, there has been an increase in university students using the app even though their chances of meeting new people and ‘matches’ are potentially in the double figures. This hints towards the app’s less glamorous use as a way for no strings attached encounters, and the fact that we’re increasingly dependent on virtual worlds to find a date.
Controversy over this app’s superficial nature is a hot topic at the moment. In my opinion when put in perspective it is based around human nature; first impressions are almost always based upon a person’s appearance, it is from there you decide whether to speak to, say, that girl in the coffee shop with her cappuccino reading a book, cliché I know. And so it is argued by founder Mateen that Tinder is “not superficial unless you want to call humans in general superficial.”
The app like many other online dating sites has the potential to be misleading from the choice of photos (max. 5) and information provided in the small bios, one case stating they were looking for their ‘Tinderella’ then upon starting a conversation it became apparent that quite the opposite was desired.
Nevertheless, like most apps it is what you make of it. By altering your search criteria and location to change the matches you receive, you can get vastly different results. For example, if you are using tinder within a highly populated student area and looking for those in their early 20s you are perhaps less likely to get people wanting a genuine conversation with a potential date at the end.
The cofounder of Tinder has defended the app further stating that they did not create the app with ‘hook-ups’ in mind, as they believe that is not the way the female mind works. They also have plans to evolve the platform’s use and move more towards social discovery and business relationships with even more ways to interact, distancing itself further from the reputation it has developed.
In spite of the numerous claims that Tinder’s sole purpose is for non-committal meetings there are always exceptions to the rule - many a love stories’ roots now emerging from Tinder with even a few marriages (Check out the RightSwiped blog to see how a match can result in a ‘happily ever after’). I know firsthand a few couples who have met on Tinder; whether I or many others could be brave enough to meet someone through this renowned app is a different matter, but I can’t deny how great a couple they make.
If above all else Tinder gives users a shameless ego-boost, it’s no bad thing; just remember to swipe carefully so as to avoid awkward run-ins with those in your area. The app also allows for matches to get to know each other before meeting, removing potential awkwardness and allowing you to make a decision based more on personality once you get past the initial attraction. However, ultimately it comes down to whether the connections made through the app can compete with a connection made through catching someone’s eye or face to face interaction and whether you are prepared to search through the matches to find one who after the same thing as you.