Swipe right to like. Swipe left to dislike. The increasingly popular smartphone app, Tinder, fosters a community for both lonely love-seekers and bored busybodies with a free second.
Tinder is igniting conversations about the millennial generation’s interactions with one another as well as a culture entirely entrenched by a desire for aesthetic appeal.
Mitchell Laurence, a senior social science major said “It is changing the way people date. I am much more willing to get drunk and meet up with someone I met online or on Tinder than get drunk and meet up with someone I met in a bar, which is crazy.”
Users create basic profiles using information from their linked Facebook accounts and upload up to four photos that others will be able to see. Tinder then uses a locator tool so that users that swipe through each other’s photos are in proximity to one another.
They can then swipe through photos of other users and decided whether to like or dislike that person based on those photos. Right is good; left is bad. Mutual swipes to the right mean that the person has liked your photo as well, and the two users are considered a successful match.
“It’s such an ego boost when you get a match,” Laurence said.
Millenials and Relationships
It’s no secret that millenials go about the process of courting differently than generations of the past. The ability to access dating applications such as Tinder has drastically changed the way people interact with one another.
Shelby Butts, a sophomore pre-med and chemistry major said “We’re starting to lean away from traditional courtship. That’s what happens when technology grows. You’re going to have different ways of communicating and meeting people.”
With social media acting as a catalyst, relationship development is in a transitional phase.
Liana Costintini, a junior communication major, uses Tinder as an alternate. “After I’m done going through Instagram and Twitter, I’ll go on to Tinder and see who I can find.”
How You Look, Not Who You Are
Tinder allows its users to upload up to four personal photos for other users to view. These photos are the tools used to measure attraction between users.
Sophomore environmental studies major Austin Valeschini said “Tinder only allows four photos. Obviously girls are going to put their four best photos. I think it’s totally misleading,”
The app allows users to make snap judgments about each other based on these four photos. It emphasizes the influence that aesthetic appeal has in today’s culture.
“It’s superficial and just based on looks. That’s why I feel you can’t take it too seriously,” Butts said.
Users are notified when they are matched with another user, but they do not receive a notification when their photo is disliked. Additionally, users of Tinder disassociate profile photos with the person behind the photo.
“You like or dislike a photo. You don’t like or dislike a person. One picture does not define someone, which is why people don’t take it seriously,” Valeschini said.
Who You Are Is Not You
When creating a profile via any social media outlet, users are able to highlight the qualities in themselves that they perceive as the best while filtering out anything unwanted. Not only does this give people a potentially false perception of the other with whom they associate, but it can also be dangerous.
“They are only showing you what they want to show you,” Laurence said. “I ended up dating somebody (from Tinder) that was really crazy. I didn’t know until I was already in it because I didn’t know him. There were weird signs; it got a little unsafe. That really could happen with anyone.”
Real or Not?
Tinder has sparked conversation about the millennial generation’s social escapades. There is dissent among millenials about whether or not Tinder is just a trending app that will fade with time or a useful tool with a specific
“If you’re serious about finding someone, you won’t be looking for someone on Tinder,” Valeschini said.
However, Laurence—who has met with people from Tinder—disagrees.
“I’m not using Tinder to make friends. There’s an end goal. I haven’t met anyone online worthwhile, yet. But (the relationships) are fun while they last. In person relationships for me have been more genuine and real and worth it, but they’re a lot harder and a lot more annoying to find.”