It’s safe to say that most people use one form of social media or another, be it Skype, Facebook or Tumblr. Interacting with people through social media has become a part of daily life, so it’s not too surprising that dating has joined the social media scene. Although websites like Match.com and OkCupid have been around for a while now, Tinder, a new iPhone application, is revolutionizing dating in social media. This little application has gained popularity in the past couple of months and is currently circulating around the College.
So, what is it, exactly? According to Tinder’s official website, it is a dating tool much like the hot-or-not page created by Mark Zuckerberg, but with one crucial difference: In Tinder you actually get to interact with people you find attractive.
The application works by connecting to your Facebook account. From there, Tinder gathers information about what you like and dislike and allows you to choose the photos you want other Tinder users to see. Then, using the location services on your iPhone and the age range you select, it will find and suggest people in your area.
After this first step, it’s all pretty simple. Tinder shows you pictures of different people and provides you with both a heart and an x button. If you like what you see, you tap the heart, and if you don’t, you either tap the x or swipe the picture away. You can also tap a small “i” icon in order to get more information about the person. If the person you “liked” likes you back, you will be notified and you’ll be able to start chatting. If they don’t, no one will be notified about anything. Tinder is completely anonymous, and does not post to the user’s Facebook page.
A lot of students at the College confess to having the application on their phones, but the question is: Do they really use it? “When I had it, I used it multiple times a day,” Talia Simon ’16 said. She first installed the application because her ice hockey teammates all had it, and stated that it was a way to pass the time on long bus rides. “A lot of teams use it as a joke,” she said. However, she says that she no longer has an account. When asked why, she laughed, and replied that “It was a little creepy, and I kind of realized that after a while some of the conversations were pretty inappropriate.” Simon adds that most of her matches were from the area, but not necessarily from the College.
Eliza Noyes ’16, also joined Tinder alongside her ice hockey teammates. “We met all the eligible bachelors of Colby, Bates and Bowdoin,” she joked.
Although not a Tinder user himself, David Lee ’14 agrees that Tinder is not always taken seriously at the College: “I don’t know if people go out and actually meet these people they say yes to. I think it’s definitely more for fun than for actually meeting people.” That being said, would Lee still be willing to jump on the Tinder bandwagon? “I think I’d make one some time in the future, definitely,” he said. “Maybe not an individual one. Maybe an entry or team one. I could get behind that.”
Looking to find out who, exactly, uses Tinder, I decided to make a temporary account. Setting it up was pretty simple, and the “liking” process is pretty quick. Tinder takes photos directly from your Facebook, and when deciding whether to like someone or not, you can scroll through some of their photos and look at their interests. Much of Tinder’s success comes from how easy it is to use; you can scroll through ten profiles in seconds. If you do not “like” someone, the application stamps a huge “NOPE” on his or her photo, which I found particularly amusing.
Tinder also allows you to choose a mile radius in which you want your matches to be. The radius is pre-set to 50 miles, and looking at people’s profiles, I found that most people were between 40-50 miles away. Some were up to 85 miles away, which revealed that there are not many people in the area using the application. Though the profiles did not specify, most people seemed to either attend other colleges or have recently graduated.
In the spirit of getting the full Tinder experience, I decided to like as many people as I could (excluding the fifty year olds and the occasional student of the College), and actually managed to get a couple of matches to converse with me.
The exchanges were all different, ranging from completely normal to playful banter, though occasionally I would be inadvertently tricked into the kind of conversation that could be perfectly described by Ron Burgundy’s famous line, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”
In case any of you were wondering, Tinder is an excellent tool for spur-of-the-moment engagements. I myself am engaged to a boy named Sam who can do 300 push-ups. The wedding will take place on international waters and will have a dog ring-bearer. I learned that answering “Nope” when asked if you have a Snapchat is enough to make someone stop talking to you, and I know much more about the sex life of a user named “Robby” than I would like to. But don’t worry; you can, of course, block any Tinder users with whom you had less-than-comfortable exchanges.
Tinder is the buzz of entry common rooms and of many a sports team, but the general consensus on campus seems to be that the application’s value stops at the joke. It’s a fun conversation piece and an amusing way to kill time but at least in the College, doesn’t seem to fulfill its purpose as a “dating tool.” We never know how the application will age, though – maybe with time, and with the expansion of the Tinder network at the College, Tunnel City will be full of Ephs who connected through this new social application.