G-Spot: Tinder alters relationship norms, shifts towards online communication

Single and ready to mingle. A college student scrolls through the various applications on her smartphone and is once again reminded of the Tinder account she recently created. Upon opening the application, she begins to update her entire profile, adding a new profile picture and short biography about herself. Within seconds, she notices someone swiped right on her profile. 

Dating today is undoubtedly not the same as it was in previous years. With advanced technology, meeting people online through dating platforms allows for mingling with other people in a simpler, less nerve-wracking way. Tinder is a popular dating application that has recently arisen in its popularity among young people who are seeking a casual fling, or who want to settle down and meet a potential partner. 

In past years, many singles would meet through public interactions or through social gatherings with mutual friends. The MIT Technology Review article entitled “First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society,” highlights traditional methods of dating and meeting people. 

“Indeed, this has long been reflected in surveys of the way people meet their partners: through mutual friends, in bars, at work, in educational institutions, at church, through their families, and so on,” the authors argue.

But now, with a simple swipe, an individual can already attract attention and create possible matches with people who may live close by or far away. Rather than worry about the flow of the first conversation—or how awkward the interaction may be—the information each user provides is used to help them connect to others who have the same interests.

While an in-person conversation allows for someone to determine whether they like their date’s personality, Tinder bases the matches solely on appearance. 

In his Thrive Global article “How Has Tinder Changed Dating and Relationships?” Kevin W. writes about Tinder’s extreme emphasis on personal appearance rather than on an individual’s unique personality. 

“The downside is the way you decide whether to swipe left or right. Tinder is all about the profile pictures, putting the emphasis on looks,” the author wrote.  “Online dating used to be about learning more about individuals’ personalities, likes and dislikes before deciding whether to message someone. Sure, the profile picture played a role but not in the major way that Tinder does.” 

For people who want a casual fling with another Tinder user, or for people who may not have a specific intention, this apparent issue is not a problem. In fact, Tinder has been intentionally created to essentially encourage its users to pursue whatever it is they want. In her Glamour magazine article entitled “Five Years Later, What Have Dating Apps Really Done for Us?” Cady Drell noted the intended flexibility of this application. 

“But [Tinder] caught on because it made it OK to not know exactly what you were seeking,” Drell said. 

While dating has shifted drastically from traditional face-to-face conversations to online connections and conversations, Tinder, along with the various other online dating services, has made the matchmaking process and the relationship searching more doable and stress free.