on Tinder

It's probably best to start with a little disclaimer-kinda-thing: I used Tinder for a month or so last year, and through it I had one match that ever amounted to anything happening outside my phone - it stayed purely platonic, but they're still an alright friend to this day.

That touching story out the way, in my brief time using the app, and through second hand experience observing others using it (I promise I'm not a creep), there's a few qualms been raised within my core, to the extent that I feel Tinder represents pretty much everything wrong with today's modern society and that writing it down is more healthy than letting it bubble away. Let's begin!

 

First off, it degrades the humans using it. This is a common gripe with the online dating scene, but let me chuck my sombrero into the ring. By displaying pictures of humans, to be sorted by someone else into 'would' and 'wouldn't' categories, the selection process then falls purely into a looks based competition, something I feel goes without saying, is a Bad Thing™.

Of course, an argument against that is the chat feature, where you can talk to your matches and see if you reverberate their vibe, but this only happens after the initial cull - it is an afterthought, serving only to filter down the already filtered. 

 

Second off, it degrades the idea of a relationship to such a powerful extent. No longer are the subtleties of interaction present between the two players, but instead the pair find themselves in an awkward conversation, lumped together with the only common denominator being they both kinda liked a very tailored set of photos of the other.

Of course, you could say that by removing all the other gumph, by making the implicit explicit, the relationship can become much more concentrated - a bigger bang for your buck, if you will. However, it's that concentration that's precisely the issue - the gumph serves a purpose, it provides meaning and social glue that can make a relationship last. 

 

Linking on from that, we come to my third point: it teaches us to prioritise sex over meaning. Now, I'm no prude. I get that sometimes that's all you're after. All the power to you. You do you hun (or do whoever you like, I'm not your mum). But to reduce the whole idea of dating to just sex (which, by the initial swipe-to-shag mechanic, Tinder does quite effectively), some serious problems can form.

We, as a species, need more than sex (shock horror). We need connection, we need small talk, we need micro-interactions, non-sexual intimacy, laughter, tears, and everything else that helps keep us stable and functioning. The Tinder approach to relationships is like putting petrol in a car, and neglecting to add antifreeze and oil. Someday, it'll break down. 

 

And, quick as a flash, we happen across my last point. Tinder helps fuel smartphone addiction, and it's got a trick up its sleeve that Facebook and Twitter just don't really have a grasp upon. It has sex. It has hot women and cute guys, and lovely looking humans of other genders, too.  With other platforms, sure you're interested that Aunty Helen has liked your holiday snaps, and it's great and all you just got another retweet on one of your witty and concise political insights, but hold the (literal) phone for a mo. Someone just matched with you. A poke from a potential partner. Stop everything else you're doing. This notification is saying that you could be getting laid in the near distant future. What could be more powerful of a motivator than that?

Then, throw in the other addiction mechanics a standard social media uses: constant push notifications, random rewards, the idea of a potential instead of an actual, and you've got an incredibly damaging device in your hands. 

 

No wonder we voted for Brexit. 

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