Editor’s Note: In the column “Is There Really an App for That?,” staff writer Mary Stringini offers her opinions on apps for iOS and Android devices.
There are many apps available these days for the iPhone and Android that make one ask, “What is society coming to? Is the current generation really this superficial? How is it that these apps actually exist? And even worse, why are they so popular?”
There’s no need to meet people the good old-fashioned way (in person) when you have online dating apps like Tinder, one of the fastest growing free dating apps in the United States, that is “so easy even a caveman can do it.”
The way Tinder works is relatively simple. It is a location-based app that uses information from your Facebook to create your profile. Then the app displays potential “matches’” profiles of people who meet your age, sex and location preferences. The app tells users how many miles apart they are from the user whose profile they are viewing. It shows you a few photos of these potential matches, one tagline they wrote about themselves and any mutual friends or interests you have according to Facebook. If you like what you see, you swipe right. If you would rather pass, you swipe left and they are gone forever. If someone you swiped right does the same to your profile, then you have got a match and Tinder sets up a private chat between the two of you through the app itself. Then you can message each other, exchange numbers, meet up, get Catfished, etc.
This app is basically a way of saying that relationships should be generated based primarily on someone’s looks, because that is really all you get to see before engaging with someone through this app. Apps like this are sexualizing people at an early age and teaching them that their self worth is established based on their looks. Tinder encourages people to judge a book by its cover. I came across Andy’s profile and enjoyed his tagline, “Voluntarily participating in the most superficial app of all time.”
Hey, at least he is honest and can admit to how truly vapid society is becoming. But in reality, are Tinder users just mirroring how society now interacts in real life anyways? Judging people based on appearance alone, filing them away as attractive or unattractive, objectifying others in superficial ways.
Tinder is fueling the flame of the today’s “hookup culture,” matchmaking quickly and as easily as possible. The app is based on looks and does not suggest any form of commitment. It simply caters to those suffering from “commitment-phobia.” The idea of romance is apparently old fashioned these days when hooking up is so easy.
Although Tinder is incredibly vain and shallow, it is also addictive.
People love the app for a number of reasons. First, Tinder gives instant gratification; users get a thrill from finding out who thinks they are hot and whom they are matched with. Second, there are no rejections; if someone swipes you left, you never know about it. It is like taking an exam that you know you are not going to fail.
Although on the other side, think about if you are swiping people left and right for two weeks and receive zero matches, talk about a blow to your self esteem. People always say, “Don’t take it to heart,” but in reality, isn’t it hard not to?
Another question this app presents is the matter of safety. Frankly, this app is downright creepy. Privacy clearly is of no concern when someone downloads the app since its purpose is to connect to total strangers. Users are making split-second decisions based on minimal facts, giving personal information, access and trust to complete strangers. Given how little information you originally have access to when viewing a person’s profile, what would give anyone the impression that it would be safe to meet up with this stranger in person with no friends in common and zero personal information save for an unusually pretty face? Are a few cute photos and an invitation enough to lure people on a date?
The probability of being “catfished” is at a all time high. I even once came across a guy’s Tinder profile whose tagline blatantly stated, “Please don’t catfish me”. If it’s a big enough concern for you that you need to write that as your tagline, do you really think this app is for you? This app is a breeding ground for creepy people to be able to find someone they think is attractive, view how far away that person is and stalk them. Stalking in real life is considered creepy, yet now that we have an app that seems to encourage it.
Online predators are a huge issue with this app. With photos from Facebook, an online predator would have very little trouble determining the hang out spots of the users they were after. You could be one mis-swipe away from a very dangerous situation. Do parents really want their kids to meet up with someone they came into contact with through an app that is promoted as a “great one-night stand app?” Especially considering that it is just because that person thought that pictures of them were attractive?
Whether or not Tinder is an app for you is your own decision, but do keep in mind that there are some seriously creepy people out there. Have fun, be careful and remember that beauty is only skin deep.