Suzie Kim had been single for three months before she downloaded Tinder on her smartphone. While most of her friends got it along with her for mobile entertainment, she went a step further by going on a few dates she thought might lead to some companionship. One of her dates eventually became a friend, and another she began to avoid after it was clear he was only looking for a physical relationship.
“It’s all about what you want to get out of it. Most of the young people on Tinder want an easy hook-up and this app gives you just that and maybe some unique cases of actually finding a partner,” said Kelly Scott, the Associate Director Career Development and Social Media Outreach at Northeastern University.
On the relationship between social interaction and social media, she added, “It’s a culture thing and culture morphs with technology. Today’s generation is used to the instant gratification aided by Tinder.”
A convenient addition to the bustle of on-the-go lives, the massively popular mobile dating service has lured millions of people into the shallow ways of modern dating. Created in 2012 at Hatch Labs, Tinder has become the easiest way to meet people in the vicinity, be it to hook up or dive into more serious waters.
The selling point of Tinder is said to be the game-like nature of the app. Tinder automatically links up your basic Facebook information to your account, allowing mutual interests to be shared with people in your geographical area. A string of words and some chosen Facebook photos determine whether someone swipes right on you – “Yes I’m interested,” – or left – “No I’m sorry.”
A match occurs when two individuals swipe right on each other and conversation ensues between both willing parties. Tinder had approached 2 billion matches by June this year, according to an article by TechCrunch.
College students form a large demographic of Tinder users. Today’s digital babies are using the app for a laugh and many view it as the game that it presents itself to be. Few are completely engaged when using the app and most get a kick out of the ego boost that a couple of matches are able to provide.
“There’s just a lot of traffic on Tinder and it definitely feels good when all these guys compliment you or find you attractive or interesting enough to start a conversation,” said Courtney Clay, a Northeastern student who downloaded Tinder and its sister app OkCupid to meet new people. According to the San Francisco native, guys are less approachable in Boston and compliments on the street give off a less pleasant vibe than they do back home.
Jessica Lindsay, 20, agreed that Tinder is a great way to meet people you would have a less likely chance of meeting in classes or social clubs.
“I wanted to meet new people and it was fun, what with all the weird pick-up lines and interesting characters. Tinder’s just incredibly funny and it’s convenient when you’re bored,” she said. Lindsay also went on a date with a fellow Northeastern student who she felt no romantic connection with but clicked with easily due to shared interests.
At an event called Upfront Summit earlier this year, Tinder founder and CEO Sean Rad revealed the reason behind the innovation. His friends were having trouble meeting new people and he wanted to ease the tension that arises from fear of rejection or violation.
Many share his opinion that dating on Tinder is equivalent to “dating in the real world but better,” he said.
In a tech-infused world housing a generation that lives off social media, the question is: Will an innovation like Tinder nudge traditional forms of dating out of the mainstream?
“I obviously got Tinder because I wanted to interact with women, other than to kill time,” says Joel Infeld, a Northeastern junior whose friends log onto his account to joke around with his matches and get reactions out of them. “But it will never replace how I get to know a girl in real life. A match on Tinder does remove a barrier however, and makes it more entertaining.”
21-year-old Psychology major Tali Rudy refuses to buckle under the pressure of her friends who frequently sit in a circle and laugh over “the creeps” they encounter on the app.
“I will never get Tinder because I strongly believe in finding my soul mate the old-fashioned way,” said the 21-year-old. “Having a guy with enough guts to come up to you and say he wants to take you out will always be more special.”