There you are, sitting alone at a coffee shop, minding your own business. Suddenly, there he is in full-color pixel beauty. After spending a couple minutes drooling over his before/after gym shots and his short, but clever bio, you take the leap and swipe your way to happiness.
Fifty million millennials have thrown out their glass slippers and kicked their fairy grandmothers to the curb in exchange for a quicker, easier path to discovering their one and only: the infamous Tinder. The app we all have hiding in the corners of our phones.
Before this article, I had never created a Tinder account. So, in the name of good journalism, I found myself in the App Store downloading and setting up Tinder in order to better understand just what I was dealing with. The results were unnerving.
As I began the swiping serenade, messages began trickling into my inbox. Lust notes riddled with heart-face emojis and bad one-liners. Swipe after swipe, I witnessed men drinking with men, men drinking with women, men holding dead animal carcasses with pride in their eyes, men baring their chests to their mirrors and some of the crudest memes the internet has ever seen.
Now although the initial view of Tinder was less than attractive, I must also admit the app does offer an easy way to connect and socialize with other people in the community. After spending more time on it, I found through this app that many people who use it are constant travelers, or move a lot for their job. In which case, I can definitely see why having an app like Tinder is extremely helpful when it comes to meeting someone.
Some others, however, use Tinder for a different reason. UW-Fox Freshman Collin Papenfuss tells us about his less-than-romantic experience with Tinder.
“I don’t go out in life anymore looking for love,” Papenfuss said.
Papenfuss uses Tinder to find like-minded people with shared interests, not necessarily a life partner or an easy date. This was also a common trend I found while interviewing for this article, that many people who use it see it more as a social app rather than a dating app.
“We would just go get tea or coffee and talk about politics. … I don’t take Tinder seriously,” Papenfuss said.
Due to its reputation for being known as the hookup app, a lot of people view it as more of a joke rather than an actual substantial way of meeting people. Bailey Sweeney, a UW-Fox freshman, shares this view.
“I appreciate that it exists because it’s kind of funny that people actually use it to meet people,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney does not personally use the app because he does not see much value in it and even argued Tinder is toxic to our society in that it makes it easier to be unsocial.
“It allows people to be more introverted. It’s lazy,” Sweeney said.
Social media feeds introversion and encourages the idea of subtracting real human connection from relationships, which has a great impact on your overall ability to relate to others.
Our society is a busy one, always on the go with phone in hand. I understand that apps like Tinder help cut to the chase when many don’t have the time to go out and find someone the old-fashioned way, but I do fear that it is injuring our ability to communicate with one another on a real-life, human level.
Although swiping your day away can be a fun and exciting thing, another thing to keep in mind is your personal safety. Greg Peter, associate professor of sociology at UW-Fox, fears that this modern dating sensation may cause more harm than good, with collective users of the app reaching as many as 12 million matches per day.
“It’s up front and easy, but it that makes it easy to also pretend to share the other person’s interests and falsely play along just to be in a relationship,” Peter said.
It’s easy to forget the consequences of online dating.
“People need to be safe about it. Go with a friend. Meet in a public place,” Peter said.
So swipe away! Just make sure you know who you’re matching with, and don’t get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of life to stop and say hello to the person next to you.