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We Need to Talk about Tinder

Have you seen this app yet?

Tinder gun man

It’s like online speed-dating – like Grindr but for heterosexuals. Essentially Tinder presents you with potential mates as determined by your location and you can either swipe them left (nope!) or right (like!) depending on how you feel about their five shared photos and tagline.

If both you and your potential mate have swiped right for each other then you get “matched”, meaning you are given the opportunity to send each other messages. It’s hilarious, addicting, and absurd all at once.

Absurd Tinder photo
Did I say absurd yet?

So we need to talk about Tinder.

Because while online dating is considered taboo or embarrassing for people my age, Tinder seems to be totally socially acceptable, if not really super popular.

There is very little commitment involved in both the process itself (download the free app and start swiping) and in the outcome (ie you aren’t expected to go on dates or even meet up with the people you’re matched with), so I guess young people don’t feel like they’re really online dating.

Many wouldn’t even associate Tinder with the word “dating” because in this type of low pressure, superficial world, people are just looking to hook up anyways.

Tinder: dead animals
If dead animals and camo aren’t an instant turn-on I don’t know what is

Tinder: dead animals Tinder: dead animals

My friend showed it to me less than a week ago, and I haven’t been able to stop swiping ever since. It’s addicting. A classic example of positive reinforcement in action.

Tinder invokes a “variable ratio reinforcement schedule”: your behavior (swiping through potential mates) is rewarded (you have a match!) after an unpredictable number of responses. You never know when you’ll get a match, so it keeps you swiping. It’s the most effective type of reinforcement – the same one that keeps us gambling at the casino.

There’s also the fact that Tinder offers endless entertainment. What absurdity or perfect southern stereotype am I going to encounter next?? I am personally shocked at the excess of fisherman we seem to have here in our very own landlocked city of Atlanta. Observe:

Same guy, four fish fotos:

Tinder fish photosTinder fish photos Tinder fish photos

Tinder fish photos
Lovez2Fish

Different guys, four fish fotos:

Tinder fish photos Tinder fish photos Tinder fish photos Tinder fish photos

Maybe it’s a primal thing, like they want to prove they are expert hunters and fisherman so that us ladies can be assured that our future family won’t go hungry out in the wild. Or maybe it’s just a southern thing? Either way, I tend to prefer my wild animals alive.

Tinder llama photo
Go on, impress me with your llamas.

I’m not sure that I think there is much harm to be done through the use of this app, unless of course you release too much personal information to wrong person or meet up with someone in a creepy situation. But that kind of thing can happen on any social network.

Tinder: creepy photo
Sometimes it’s fairly easy to spot the creepy guys

But on a more serious note, Tinder is fascinating because a) it’s interesting to see snapshots of people, presenting themselves how they want to be perceived in as few images and words as possible and b) it’s interesting to try to judge someone on somewhat of a deeper level through these superficial snapshots. (Although not all of us are doing this consciously, I think it’s still happening to some extent.)

You can really know a lot about someone from just a few photos and words; and there is something to be said for being able to judge in this very premature way whether you could connect or not with a stranger.

Tinder: R is chiller than most
R is chiller than most. See? I feel like I’ve learned all I need to know here.
Tinder: J has more rhythm than most
J has more rhythm than the average white boy. Again, gud2kno.

I would love to see some statistics on the real-life effects of this virtual tool. Anyone out there have an interesting Tinder-tale to tell?

Tinder: girl fish photo
Besides this lucky lady who’s surely in Tinder-heaven right now.

10 comments

  1. Vicky Sanders says:

    I stopped using tinder a few weeks ago… too many douches for my liking lol. My coworker showed me cliqie.com and I’m a big fan of that over the others in terms of actually meeting people vs. just entertainment. It has a different approach that feels less sketchy cause you and your friends essentially act as “wingmen”. I like that it helps you find things to do too. Skout’s okay too, but still has it’s fair share of creepers

    • mishvo says:

      Ah I heard about cliqie – I like the idea of meeting up in groups, for obvious reasons. I don’t think I can handle any more social media right now but maybe once I finally tear myself away from Tinder I’ll get into cliqie. Thanks for the tips Vicky 🙂

      • Vicky Sanders says:

        No problem :). Yea I like that it takes care of my facebooking, tindering and grouping in one so I find myself using other social media sites less. I’ve been trying to ween off them myself. Good luck!

  2. I met my boyfriend on Tinder. I find that fact mildly embarrassing, but in the end he’s great so I guess it all worked out. It was the addicting aspect that kept me going past all the creeps – and I’m glad I did 🙂

    • mishvo says:

      That’s amazing and I think it’s cool that you’re not embarrassed to admit it! Because honestly man I have a few gems on Tinder – I’ve been chatting with some pretty promising prospects thus far and I don’t think I would be embarrassed about “how we met” if things progressed with any of them.

      Oh, the Internet.

  3. fotoeins says:

    Michelle, At least that alpaca is alive, and, perhaps, more amenable to a warm fuzzy hug (it’s *alpaca* fur!) than some of these dudes. And there it is. 😉

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