In the dating world, there are always plenty of fish in the sea. Incoming college students, however, must deal with a dramatic transition in their dating pool as their high school pond becomes a university current. As new people come in with the tide every day, college students turn to Tinder in the hopes of swiping their way to love.
When everyone thought the world would end in 2012, Tinder was just getting started. Since its launch in September of 2012, Tinder has gained over 50 million users, 10 million of which log on for a daily dose. Millennials make up 80 percent of Tinder users. So why has a Tinder download become a staple app in college, among more practical apps like Uber and Venmo? An obvious answer would be that Tinder has become a platform for hookup culture. Although Tinder is known for one-time meetups, it has also helped facilitate a number of success stories, mobilizing both sex and romance throughout college campuses.
Before praising Tinder for expanding the dating world, we must first acknowledge its disadvantages. Firstly, the app greatly emphasizes appearances by providing a picture, name, age and distance (from the respective user) as each person’s profile. Tinder deems these four factors conducive for swiping left or right. If someone wishes to see any additional information on a person, such as their bio and various interests, they must click on their profile and explore further themselves. The face value of a Tinder profile literally becomes your own face value. While swiping right is no major commitment, it does open the door for conversation, and conversation opens infinite doors thereafter. If a meetup, hookup or relationship progresses from Tinder, both parties must recognize that it was their appearances that originally led to their matchup.
While the process is rather superficial, it is arguably fundamental to the college dating world. We are constantly missing out on the opportunity to fully get to know our peers, because the number of peers we have has exponentially increased. While our sphere of social exposure expands, it becomes overwhelming to keep track of the people we might have romantic interest in. We must see hundreds of people we are attracted to on a daily basis, in our lectures and activities and even on our walk to class. The amount of opportunities we miss to express an interest — or even to focus on a specific one — is infinite. Luckily, we can catch up on these missed opportunities via Tinder at our own leisure.
Tinder supplies a constant stream of dating candidates right to our phones that we can browse whenever we wish. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to take charge of our dating lives in a way that would not be possible through interpersonal encounters. For instance, our intentions in person are never fully clear. When someone asks another to “hang out,” it can be unclear whether that someone wants to pursue a romantic relationship or a friendship. Personally, I could never walk up to a stranger and tell them I think they’re cute, and I know I’m not alone. More so, the other person would probably be creeped out or unimpressed by my meek attempt at flirting. On Tinder, all that changes. By establishing a space specifically for romantic, or sexual, pursuits, it clarifies the intentions of our exchanges and we can give pickup lines that would otherwise sound cringy in person. Like other social media, Tinder tries to break down some of the social barriers that stop us from pursuing people we’re interested in. Although it still takes guts to actually take the next step meet up with people we match with.
There are many words Tinder users can use to describe the app, but one word that should come to mind is convenient. While it may not be the charming meet-cute we all envision for our ideal romance, it is an effective way to meet potential hookups or significant others around us, and that’s really all any Tinder user hopes for. Although it may simplify the nuances of the dating world, Tinder’s beauty can actually be found in its simplicity. Looking for a hookup? Lots of viable options. Do you want something more serious? There’s people out there for you, too. All you have to do is swipe right.