Over the last few years, mobile dating apps have joined the digital dating world. In September 2012, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen started the app Tinder (Stampler, 2014). Available for Apple and Android devices, Tinder is the largest of the dating apps available today. You can download Tinder for free, or you can opt to purchase Tinder Plus for additional perks, with a monthly payment of $9.99, less if you choose to subscribe to six months or a year (this may be up to $19.99/month if you’re over 28, but as someone under 28 years old, this is what I would be charged).
(Screenshots from my own phone)
Tinder is very easy to use. Besides a smart phone, the only thing you need to sign up is a Facebook account. Linking your Facebook to Tinder fills in your information so you don’t have to; all you have to do when you sign up is enter in which gender you are interested in, the age range you would like to see, and how far you’d be willing to travel for potential matches (Costa, 2015). Connecting the two will also automatically pull in some of your Facebook pictures, which you can change or rearrange by choosing others from Facebook or some from your camera roll.
One of the things that makes Tinder so easy is the swipe system it uses. When you come across a person you find attractive, you swipe right to ‘like’ them; if you do not like them, you swipe left to ‘pass’. It’s that simple.
When your potential matches come up, you can tap on the person’s picture to see what other images they chose to display. Additionally, their profile may have a bio section (depending on if they chose to include one), and will show any mutual friends, along with some Facebook pages you have both ‘liked’, and perhaps some pictures from their Instagram (Stampler, 2014). Tinder has also partnered with Spotify, which allows users to see what kind of music their potential matches are into, something that may be very important to a lot of people. With this pairing, you can also choose a specific song to broadcast on your profile (Jacca-RouteNote, 2016).
While swiping right or left on people based mostly on looks may seem kind of shallow, it’s usually how people decide to talk to someone in bars, for example, anyway. Once you match with someone, the options to ‘keep playing’ or ‘send message’ pop up (Costa, 2015). There is also the option to ‘super like’ someone; that is, if you think someone is really smokin’ or shares a lot of interests with you, you can swipe up, and that person will be notified that they have been super liked (Costa, 2015).
On the swiping screen, if you have a new match or a new message, a dot will appear in the upper right-hand corner, signifying a new notification. All of your matches and messages are on the same screen, so you can keep track of both easily. One of the nice things about Tinder, perhaps unlike other more traditional dating websites, is that no one can see you swiped right on them unless they’ve swiped right on you. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about a plethora of unwanted messages from people you aren’t into because the only people who can initiate conversation are those with whom you’ve matched (Revenorl, 2016).
The initial intention for Tinder was an easy way to find people in your area who you find attractive and/or interesting to potentially go out with and see if anything more comes from it (Stampler, 2014). It can also provide an opportunity for people who already know each other in real life to start a conversation if they are too shy to initiate contact in person. More often, it seems, Tinder is used for casual sex than it is for finding meaningful relationships, but to each their own. Regardless of the consumer’s reason for using Tinder, it is certainly an easy app.
Tinder’s ease is part of what makes it so popular. It has revolutionized the technology-assisted match making process. Where other, more traditional online dating sites require long hours spent in front of the computer writing and reading long bios, Tinder allows you to swipe on the go, no matter where you are (Stampler, 2014). The added efficiency of Tinder (having personal information transferred from Facebook) also caters to the generation who uses it most (18-24 year-olds). While a lack of response on dating websites such as OkCupid or Match.com may increase the likelihood of ceasing to use the service, Tinder’s convenience and fun, almost game-like swiping motion makes continued use more likely.
Another thing you can use Tinder for is finding groups of people to meet up with when you go out with your own friends.
(Screenshot from my own phone)
Again, this can be for the purposes of a romantic connection or a sexual one, or just to make some new friends. The creators of Tinder want it to evolve to be about social discovery and meeting people other than in a romantic context (Stampler, 2014). As it is, Tinder has inspired other apps explicitly for meeting potential friends, and not potential romances. So even if you’re in a relationship already, you’d still be able to make good use out of Tinder.
While not many people may choose to pay for Tinder Plus–after all, you can accomplish the basic goals of Tinder with the free version–it does offer some pretty cool features. Tinder Passport allows you to virtually transfer your profile to another location, so you can start swiping and being swiped in your destination before your arrival (Costa, 2015). Paying for Tinder can also get you more Super Likes per day–five instead of one–and gives you unlimited right swipes. Tinder Plus also offers a Rewind option, for those moments when you’re swiping nothing but left and accidentally say goodbye to a hottie (Costa, 2015).
Stampler, L. (2014). Inside Tinder: Meet the Guys Who Turned Dating Into an Addiction. Retrieved from http://time.com/4837/tinder-meet-the-guys-who-turned-dating-into-an-addiction/
Costa, C. (2015). How Does Tinder Work? What is Tinder? Retrieved from http://www.gadgetreview.com/how-does-tinder-work-what-is-tinder
Marie-Claire. (2016). Tinder: The online dating app everyone’s STILL talking about. Retrieved from http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/life/sex-and-relationships/tinder-the-online-dating-app-that-everyone-s-talking-about-112522
Revenorl, M. (2016). How Does Tinder Work? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/How-does-Tinder-work
Jacca-RouteNote. (2016). Find your perfect music match with Tinder and Spotify’s new partnership. Retrieved from http://routenote.com/blog/find-your-perfect-music-match-with-tinder-and-spotifys-new-partnership/