|Tinder: the GPS for love. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.|
In case you are not up to date on the newest, online dating craze, I present to you Tinder: the mobile app-only social network that targets young singles who are too lazy to use even OkCupid. How is that even possible, those few people who still are hanging onto traditional courtship might ask? Oh...it's possible. In an interview about Tinder, HuffPost Senior Tech Editor, Bianca Bosker, describes the app as "incredibly superficial, and that makes it incredibly fun." Who' da thunk it? Unsurprisingly, Tinder is actually a part of HotOrNot.com, and was first launched at a University of Southern California party.
Forget the E-Harmony questions that some mysterious web widget uses to determine your compatibility with strangers. Don't need it. An in-depth profile that tells all your likes, dislikes and personality traits? Don't need that either. Height? Nope. Weight? Nada. Religion? Who cares.
Seriously, you barely even need a profile for Tinder. Let me describe to you how easy signing up is: you download the app on your smart-phone (which you obviously have, because it's the 21st century), you create a "profile" that links to your Facebook and includes: several past profile pictures, a tagline, your interests that you've already listed on the FB, and your age. That's it. Two minutes later, you are all set to go on Tinder!
The funny thing about Tinder is that it feels like you're playing a game. When you login, the app will automatically track your current location and then find as many matches in the area for your judging pleasure. Their picture will show up, which you can swipe to the left if you don't find them attractive, or to the right if you do. If you want to find out more information (who needs more details other than a person's face and age?!) you can click on their profile to see more. Now the real magic comes when you swipe to the right for someone who has also right-swiped you. Then this screen pops up that says "It's a match!", and you can choose whether to message that person, or to keep on "playing." If you do indeed decide to message them, they have this separate text-message-cloned page where you two can chat. Within the first four hours that I joined Tinder, I had five matches. It's wickedly fast. And weirdly fun.
It's also pretty funny when you see someone that you have mutual friends with (could make for good conversation), though I haven't seen any more mutual acquaintances than one. I'm pretty positive that they don't give you people who you are already friends with on Facebook (for obvious reasons), so don't worry about that.
Anyhoo, once you get the hang of it, it's pretty addictive. I admit that I've gotten into the bad habit of going on it when I'm bored at night, or in the waiting room when I have nothing else to do. The trick is that once you right-swipe someone, Tinder will put you at the top of their pile so it doesn't turn out to be 10 years until they come across your profile next. So once you've been on there for a while, you'll know that each time you go on to the app, the first few people that you come across probably think that you are attractive. Hey confidence booster!
Now about a week into it, I've had about 10 matches and three people that I've actually talked to. Guess what? Kind of over it. Yes, it's incredibly easy and convenient. That person lives 30 miles away? No can do; that's too long of a commute and I don't have to waste time typing paragraph-long answers like I did on OkCupid. That's nice. But what I can't help but think is that Tinder is only enhancing the hook-up culture that us millennials have become addicted to. I met someone the other day who did what they playfully called "speed-swipe" rounds on Tinder. How the hell am I supposed to judge a person based on just their appearance? Sure, I can gauge who I'm attracted to and not attracted to, but once we are matched, what are we supposed to talk about? I don't have any content besides his pictures; there's no conversation to be had. As a writer and social media nerd, I find the information that this app provides for me to adequately creep on a guy especially lacking.
There was once a guy on OkCupid that fully admitted to Googling me, found my blog, read its most popular posts, and then proceeded to critique them in full detail. I was sufficiently creeped out and hated his guts in the end, but I have to admit: that is dedication. You most likely wouldn't even have enough material to find someone on Google through Tinder. In other words, I think there is a line with online dating that is too superficial, and I think Tinder has breached it.
On a completely unrelated note, look at this hilariously metaphorical lock-and-key dating event.