Tinder: an innocuous little red flame on the iPhone screen. The icon promises that the app contains the power to ignite the flame of red-hot love in our collegiate hearts. The premise of simply “swiping” right or left, either to accept or reject a potential romantic partner, is simple yet elegant: users don’t have the chance to look as foolish as if had been rejected in real life because the app only “matches” them if the person of interest also likes what they see. Once both parties express interest, they can chat, which is the much more open-ended part of Tinder, the battleground of failed pick-up lines and poetry.
Tinder, which was launched in September 2012, was originally tested out on college campuses. The app works via Facebook profiles to match users based on similarities of interests, location, and friends. Users can adjust “discovery preferences” to see profiles based on age range, location and gender.
It is safe to say that Tinder has a reputation of uniting partners for one-time trysts that don’t last longer than a night. There is no certain way of measuring the actual outcomes of Tinder use, but people were still quite willing to share their distinct thoughts on the phenomenon.
Tinder is definitely active at the College. Despite how small our campus can seem at times, many Ephs use Tinder to meet new people on campus and elsewhere, from nearby colleges to Albany or Boston. The Record confirmed the formation of a contract called the Tinder Date Pact among a pocket of adventurous friends on campus. The ensigned 15 students promised to go on a date with someone they met on Tinder before the end of fall semester and, if they failed to be successful by the deadline, to table for a date in Paresky Center during Winter Study. They chose not to comment for obvious reasons.
Tinder user and College student Dani Hernandez ’18 is unperturbed by Tinder’s reputation, preferring to look at it for what it really was.
“I think Tinder is just a social network to have fun with, nothing else,” she said. For her, the app is just a tool that gets all of its connotations from its users.
Hernandez, who hails from Costa Rica, noted another interesting point: that the way the app is used depends on the culture. While Tinder “is an app designed to work within the hookup culture of certain countries, it is not as successful in other parts of the world,” said Hernandez.
Clyde Engle ’15 has complicated feelings about the idea of using Tinder. Engle has made use of the app before but said he has never found it particularly useful for his ends. As a member of the gay community, Engle said he thought it had a particular ambiguity there.
“I think Tinder is weird, because in the gay community you don’t know whether Tinder is for relationships or for sex,” he mused. “I’m a relationship guy so it’s always a balancing act.”
Engle also expressed a common critical attitude toward today’s youth, who he says are too reliant on technology to make them happy, including dating.
“I find Tinder to be a signifier of our generation’s reliance on the Internet, and I think it’s a shame that relationships have become digitized in that way,” said Engle. Though other dating sites like Match and eHarmony have been around for a lot longer than Tinder has, and thus blazed the way in “digitizing” our interactions, Tinder seems to be one of the first to hit the younger generations hard.
Fatima Anaza ’18 said that she felt similarly to Engle, taking issue with Tinder’s impersonality.
“If I’m being honest, morally, physically, socially, I don’t think I could do it,” said Anaza, wearily. However, she did not claim to be in a position to deny Tinder’s efficacy for others.
“If you can make a sufficient enough relationship through text that you would be willing to put your mouth or more on that person, you do you,” said Anaza; in her parlance, “putting your mouth” on someone refers to what is commonly known as kissing.
Web Farabow ’18 professedly does not even use Tinder for exclusively personal matters; he has taken the app’s utility to new, unscaled heights.
“In my experience, Tinder has been a great platform for business networking,” he remarked. However, Farabow did not elaborate on how exactly he makes it clear to his matches that he’s only in it for the contact. One might be tempted to say that Farabow has ignored conventional wisdom by mixing business and pleasure, but his results are sure to be dangerously successful. Only time will tell.
On the contrary, Gordon Wilford ’17 has found little use for Tinder in any aspect of his life. “I prefer to meet my women at the library,” he stated.