Monday 21 October 2013

My Brief Affair With Tinder

It's a sad yet true fact that 70% of young Londoners are single. Bearing this in mind it is rather unsurprising how successful the Tinder app has become  in the last few months, spreading like a wildfire around the capital and beyond. In fact most if not all of my friends, bizarrely whether in a relationship or not,  are swiping their way across hundreds of faces a day trying to find their "match". If you aren't acquainted with tinder already it's premise is simple. Download it to your smartphone, link it to your Facebook profile ( and don't worry no one on your actual Facebook will know) and pick 5 photos most representative and no doubt flattering of you. You can then set a distance ratio around you, say three miles and with a bit of tinder magic you will be shown all possible matches in your area. On top of the immediate visual impression from the pictures you are also shown shared interest ( anything from music, films or bars) and mutual friends. You can either swipe them to the left indicating a big fat NO or to the right and if they have done the same to you a match is made and you can start chatting to them. 
This all sounds fun yet I for one deleted Tinder after a week or so. Why? There are several reasons.
Of course you can never be sure of peoples intentions for being on there, many like me and my friends that have downloaded it no doubt did so for the novelty, out of curiosity and for the public transport entertainment it provides. However some will be in it for one thing and one thing only which is fair enough for them yet takes on a decisively darker tone when their profile shots show them with wives, at their own wedding (!) or with their children.
What upsets me more however about this tinder craze is that it further encourages an  investment  into  an online persona rather than our real and none virtual one. With the right pictures, the right likes and the right area you can almost pre-empt who will "like" you. All decisions indeed are based on the most superficial of factors, a sort of human trumps game where we take the snap judgements we may make when meeting a guy in a club and magnify them by ten in the safe environment we are in when swiping away all these probably perfectly nice people. Paradoxically we tend to condone online bullying yet in the Tinder world we become more shallow and indeed mean than we would ever be in the real world without bating an eyelash. Of course many would argue  they would never seriously date anyone that they match and talk to but what is the point of Tinder then?
Instead of meeting real people in real life we are holding pointless conversation with people that like the same burger place than us or happen to wear cool trainers in one of their snaps. Meeting someone is meant to be about chemistry and though I in no way say online dating is wrong tinder is symptomatic of a generation that is too busy to socialise outside their packed weekends yet still yearn not only for attention from the opposite sex and validation in their looks and taste but also  for a boyfriend or girlfriend that ticks all the boxes,  incapable of compromising  and as result more than willing to swipe you to the left at the smallest of faults. 
I would recommend downloading tinder to anyone just to see what all the fuss is about but for me it was not only the many former dates, friends with girlfriends and a worrying amount of lads on the beach with their tops off and men with small animals that made me delete it. If anything Tinder made me sad about the lack of trust we have in fate when it comes to finding romance these days and highlighted  how preoccupied we have become with being an all round presentable and successful online representation of ourselves. For me tinder hasn't destroyed romance quite but it definitely hasn't replaced it either. 


Unknown said...

Interestingly enough Tinder can boast about having resulted in hundreds of new couples and even quite a few engagements and indeed weddings.

Personally, I was on it for a laugh and ended up meeting my boyfriend on there. It is easy enough to argue that Tinder represents so many of the things that are wrong with our digital generation (being superficial and portraying an online persona plus a few others) yet it is indeed no different than you going out and seeing someone you find attractive in a bar. You make a snap judgement about someone whether you like it or not and Tinder simple uses that premise to allow people to accept or dismiss potential matches in a virtual world.

Laura M said...

I don't find it sad at all that 70% of Londoners are single. I'm pretty sure that many of them are perfectly happy with their single status and may not even be after a relationship. Society has always put too much pressure on people to find a "mate" (ie. someone to be in a relationship with and eventually marry). Too many couples are together out of "necessity." Let's not forget that in previous generations (in our society at least, seeing as this is still very much the case in other circles) people married the person they were "assigned" by their families. Does this app. reinforce the shifting pressures in the world of dating?

Roseanna said...

I think for those who have left London and living in the sticks.It is an easier option to try online dating.I am not a fan of this idea myself.It feels unnatural to talk to someone online before meeting them.I really enjoy reading your written blogs by the way,so truthful and thought provoking :)

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