I will openly admit that I had an active Tinder account for a few months. Although in my defence, I wasn’t on it looking for love, I signed up out of curiosity and only ever used it out of boredom as the online equivalent of people watching. However, that isn’t to say I didn’t find myself addicted to the self-gratifying nature of the game. I say ‘used’ because Tinder and I are no more. As I went to deactivate my profile and all the matches to go with it (look at me, sounding like an old hand at the online dating world) I pondered what it is about it that makes Tinder, a location based dating app, so addictive?
All you have to do is log in with Facebook, select your desired gender, age-group and location radius, upload a compilation of flattering (most likely filtered) selfies and bish – bosh – bash, just like that you’re up and running, single and ready to mingle!
In just 19 months, Tinder has become some-what of a cultural phenomenon. Used largely by 18-24 year olds, Tinder, a mobile online dating app is contributing to, and taking advantage of, the fast-growing generation gap. With the mobility and instantaneity of the smart phone leading the way of the future and young people’s comfort in sharing private information, Tinder is the ultimate way to connect, network, flirt, and build relationships on the go (or even better, from the comfort of your sweat pants and fluffy socks at home!) Gone are the Notebook-esque, romantic stories told to us by our parents and grandparents of how they met that long, hot summer. Rather, I imagine they will be a simple, “we both swiped right.” And I guarantee they’ll leave out excerpts of the lewd conversations that led to their eventual meet up.
As shallow as it may be in nature, you cannot deny Tinder’s success. In the year and half since its launch, Tinder is credited with upwards of 750 million matches and counting. How many of those have led to ‘relationships’, in whichever capacity that may be, I do not know. Although my maths isn’t the best, I’m pretty sure that means that there must be at least an active 1,500,000,000 profiles. That’s some pretty good traffic. So, what is it that has 1,500,000,000 of us seemingly addicted to Tinder?
- It’s empowering - with the unspoken mutual understanding of a meet up more than likely not going to happen, Tinder gives you this liberating feeling of anonymity. You can shamelessly unleash your inner minx, say whatever you like and not get embarrassed about it because hey, the chances of actually meeting this person are slim anyway.
- It’s an ego boost – as matches are based off appearances, it’s a really positive experience to have real people affirm our attractiveness. Tinder underscores and feeds our obsession for constant acknowledgement and approval.
- It’s comforting – it’s refreshing to be able to alleviate feelings of loneliness as a result of singledom by the swipe of a screen. A match comforts you by making you feel, to some degree, romantically desirable, as at its core Tinder is a dating app. Hopelessness is gone and instead you feel like you’ve got your pick of eligible suitors lining up to whisk you away.
- It’s fun – creators Sean Rad and Justin Mateen even say that Tinder was originally developed for a bit of fun they say they always saw Tinder, the interface, as a game. “They join because they want to have fun. It doesn’t even matter if you match because swiping is so fun”, Rad said in an interview.
- Reduced rejection factor - rejection is always a risk in the dating world, but Tinder eases that anxiety as the app only connects users who have expressed a mutual interest. Even though you might not always get an instant match, when you do, you know that they are genuinely interested, not acting out of obligation.
- Manage your profile - online dating apps such as Tinder gives you the chance to manage your profile in ways you can’t in real life. You have total control over how you are perceived as you get to hand pick the photos you upload and the information you provide.
- It actually is addictive - instant gratification received by a match gives us an addictive experience. Each match fuels an emotional high and so we keep going back for more.
- It’s a fantasy - Tinder can act as an escape from the stressful, tiring, and harsh realities of real world dating Or even the real world. You create fantasies in your head that can distract you for days, “what if I were to meet up with him?”, “what if he’s the one?” Before you know it, you’re planning your wedding. It’s pretty innocent but fuels your imagination and takes your mind off things you’d rather not think about.
- Affirmation – Tinder tells you things you wouldn’t get to know offline. We may have confidence and invincibility behind the screen, but in person we are still pretty shy and don’t like to give much away for fear of rejection. It reveals Liam Hemsworth’s doppelgänger from the house down the street thinks you’re hot, or the cute Barista at Starbucks does like you back.
Tinder is the ultimate means of self-indulgence. In a society so concerned with image and how other’s perceive our worth based off looks, do you think Tinder is so successful because of its ability to affirm our attractiveness and feed our ego?