Ah, remember the good ol’days. The days where a young person might meet an eligible beau down at the dance hall. That a young woman might be asked on more then a couple of dates before her suitor even pursued the idea of asking her hand in marriage. And of course he’d ask her father’s permission before doing so as all well mannered gentle men would do.
But who has time to do that nowadays? I hear you question.
Well, nobody by the looks of it. That’s where internet dating comes in, or more specifically an app called Tinder.
So what is it exactly?
Tinder, it’s the match making mobile app that’s on everybody’s lips. Officially launched in 2011 but made more popular in recent years, the app allows users to navigate through hundreds of potential romantic matches in the local area. It uses the geographical location of it’s users, number of mutual friends and common interests through Facebook to narrow down the more then stressful task of finding your soul mate. This method of ‘online dating’ has paved the way for many new dating apps such as ‘Hot or Not’, Plenty of Fish and Grindr (for the men who are looking for a romance more Elton and David then Brad and Angelina).
If you don’t know anything more about Tinder then the information I have just shared then you are probably wondering what’s the big deal? It does seem relatively innocent and the idea of whittling down eligible partners through the likelihood of them actually having something in common with one another is almost innovative (could you imagine!? A relationship based upon common interests?)
But Tinder has a slightly more narcissistic side to it’s appearance. The reason being is that when you are first introduced to this eligible matches, you can only see their picture. You can choose to ‘like’ an individual based upon your physical attraction to them or swipe to reject them. If both of you have selected each other for a match you will gain access to the messaging service which allows you to communicate with the person or should I say picture you ‘liked’, allowing you to also access their personal interests as well as personal details such as their work place or educational history .
Now don’t get me wrong, physical attraction to an individual is one of the important factors to finding a partner. After all, without physical attraction you can’t really have much chemistry. But an individual’s personality can be more of a deciding factor then anything. By choosing a potential partner based purely on looks, you will more definitely meet an obstacle in the fact that said person will most likely have no common interests nor a personality you’d be willing to sign a life long commitment to.
Many people would probably argue that Tinder was never originally invented with the same intentions that a dating website such as Match.com may have been founded. It could be described as more of a ‘hook up’ app, a modern phenomenon in which physical attraction is deemed as being an important factor mainly seeing as conversation really isn’t on the menu of the day which such a relationship *a hook up to anyone who may have been shielded from knowing of such activities is when two individual meet up for sex with no intention of calling the other the next day unless it’s for another hook up. ‘You won’t believe who hooked up with Linda last night? She must be regretting that decision’
So seeing as Tinder wasn’t known for creating ‘serious relationships’ I assumed that in my research it would be made pretty clear to me that the intentions of the app were primarily to find ‘one night stands’ or ‘a quick flirt’. I did however stumble upon an article in between the stories of celeb sex scandals and casual encounters turned ugly, in which a young couple who met through the app with very little expectations had gone on to pursue a serious relationship and are even set to be married. Did it change my perception of such apps? I’m not too sure. Regardless the couple still choose to ‘like’ each other and were matched based upon their initial feelings towards the others appearance. It was maybe luck that they did turn out to be a perfect couple, with a lot of common ground and compatibility. However, if it had been that one of them had posted a picture that was not as perfectly posed or polished, the sad reality would be that neither would have ended up meeting or having each other in their lives. It’s a cruel society that we live in where a single person should be ostracised for not meeting the aesthetic expectations of others. And why should companies play up to this by creating products that only heighten people’s self esteem issues? Why should an individual feel unworthy or ‘ugly’ because some douche on a match making app didn’t like their picture?
I am really of mixed emotions about this types of sites/apps. I understand their initial purpose. We live a lot busier life styles then we have in previous years. We often don’t have the time to meet partners like we did previously and it seems so simple to be able to find that special someone through the comfort of our own homes, allowing us to communicate for as long as we choose before making the next step, it can save a lot of hassle and heart ache in the long run if it turns out the person in question is just not the one.
But that also leads me on to my next worry about meeting someone through technology such as Tinder. Do you really know who you are talking to? Do you know what this ‘strangers’ intentions are when you message them through a device where they are, in many ways, almost anonymous?
The internet allows us to create our own persona. We often find that we come cross very differently on the world wide web then we do face to face. Our anonymity allows us to be the people we always wanted to be. You can’t see the same facial expressions of another person like you would do during a face to face encounter. Most people can read the emotions of an individual through their face and behaviour. Whether the person in question is lying or maybe over exaggerating. If they are uncomfortable or maybe hiding something. The internet allows us to mask our true emotions, it allows us to hide behind a computer screen and mould ourselves like a fresh piece of Playdoh that others can fall for. And this is always more prevalent in the online dating world. I’ve heard many a story of people who meet through online dating, ‘fall in love’ with the words that manifest on their screens and therefore make decisions, that in hindsight are more then a little foolish, such as sending money to a recipient with the intentions that the money will help the personality they have fallen for. It usually becomes clear that the individual was a mask for a scam of some sort and the victim is left heart broken, left totally distrusting of the online world.
But just like any relationship one will have in the real world, you put yourself out there to experience love, with little thought of the heart ache you may feel when that relationship is over.
Of course, there is always positives to such discussions. Many have gone on to meet their soul mates through the forum of the internet. But my thoughts on specific forms of online dating, like Tinder, in which a picture is all you have to lead with, is still unchanged. I can’t seem to get my head around how such a form of introduction can ever really lead to something more then a sleazy meet up.
However, I’ve never tried this app. And in many ways I have no intention of trying it. But I suppose it’s true to say you can’t have a true opinion on something you don’t have much knowledge of. How does a ‘Georgia Investigates’ series sound?
I might just see if my expectations of such technology are really met. But until my mind is changed I have no reason to see these apps any differently. Until I get my first invite to a Tinder wedding day then I shall stay of this mind set.
(P.S. If you have any experience of using apps like Tinder, negative or positive, please drop me an email or a comment on this post. I’d also really appreciate any suggestions for topics on future blog posts. Just email me or drop me a tweet!)