Ever since the creation of the digital world and the internet, online dating has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. It allows online users to meet new people who perhaps they wouldn’t have crossed paths with otherwise. It’s actually quite romantic, as it opens up the what if questions; what if we didn’t match online? what if I didn’t swipe right?
It also gives us the opportunity to present yourself in a certain way and provides a facade for all your insecurities. According to Blumer and Katz uses and gratification theory, as the public we use media to satisfy our needs and create personal relationships. With over 10 million active users daily, Tinder is the perfect example of a successful online dating website/app that is used to satisfy particular needs. Tinder is based around the judgement of first impressions from selected photos, where you swipe right if you find the user attractive meaning a potential match, or if you swipe left it’s a no go. I used Tinder for less than two days before I deleted the app, not because it wasn’t good, but because personally I wasn’t keen on the idea that my face and photos were the determination between whether someone found me attractive or not. This then led to me thinking what do people really use Tinder for? the obvious answer is to find a potential partner, but I think this can be debated.
Obviously because I haven’t used Tinder for long enough, my opinion of the app is quite biased. However, after asking my housemate Maisy Morris-Davies some questions, who is a regular user of Tinder, I received an interesting insight into how Tinder really makes you feel.
Why initially did you join Tinder over other dating sites?
It’s definitely aimed more at young people, like 18-24 year old’s, compared to other dating sites which makes it easier to find someone my age and in my area. I guess it seems more of a shallow thing, but it’s also easier to judge if someone is attractive or not because you see their face before their bio or anything, and I’ll admit to the fact that I can read a bio and think “yeah they sound like a bit of me”, but will still swipe right if I don’t like the physical look of them.
What were your intentions?
Well I just broke up with my ex-boyfriend at the time, so I guess I was using it as a digital rebound. I just needed validation and to know that people did actually find me attractive, it’s the comfort and safety of attraction. I just wanted to flirt and talk to people who I knew were romantically interested in me.
Would you use Tinder again to find a potential partner?
I actually met my ex on there, we matched in May 2016 and were together in a relationship by July 2016. Tinder is all very fast paced, if you want anything to go anywhere you have to be quick because everyone’s talking to other people constantly.
Would you use Tinder again to find a partner?
Absolutely not. I don’t actually think you can find a successful relationship on Tinder, based on my last relationship. Tinder is based on looks rather than building a relationship, you can’t hold a relationship on looks.
Has the reason you use Tinder changed now compared to when you first signed up?
Yes absolutely. I definitely use it more for validation purposes and occasional one off hook-ups.
Obviously this is only one perspective, but it gives a good insight into what users really use Tinder for; validation and causal hook-ups. Over 79% of users are millennials, who grew up in the digital age, which means many of generation-Z have probably only used Tinder instead of other match-making sites. Does this tell us to base attraction on looks? My other housemate, who shall remain unnamed for personal reasons, stated that if she met her current boyfriend on Tinder, she wouldn’t have immediately swiped right. They have now been together for five and a half years and are very happy together, which leaves another what if question; what if I did swipe right?
In the words of Childish Gambino in this interview, you have to be real with yourself. Tinder and online dating is great for a quick flirt and a bit of validation, it’s always an ego boost when someone finds you attractive, but can you really base a long-lasting relationship on looks and specially selected images? Gambino also said that people are too concerned with making everything “look nice and calm and pretty”, that we have lost touch when recognising a real connection.
This is all very subjective and completely up for debate, so get in involved with any thoughts you have in the comments below or on twitter and use the hashtag #LOR. Thank you for tuning in and staying until the end, see you next Sunday where we will be discussing further in detail the self image.