Tinder, the notorious dating and hook-up app, has dominated the burgeoning online dating scene since it launched in 2012. With the app’s popularity skyrocketing in the last few years — an estimated 50 million people used it as of 2017 — it’s not uncommon to catch someone swiping through an endless stack of Tinder profiles, especially on a college campus.
But is the app made for finding a match actually killing dating?
“It’s made me a lot lazier,” said Cameron Ramirez, a 2012 University of Maryland graduate who now works in Dining Services. “It’s all based off just superficial stuff. … Like, I don’t have to go anywhere to get a date anymore. I can sit wherever I’m at and get a date.”
Tinder and other dating apps like Bumble and Grindr have become commonplace; for some people, they’re integral parts of a daily routine.
Studies show the stigma around dating apps is beginning to relax. According to a 2016 Pew Research survey, 27 percent of people between ages 18 and 24 say they’ve used an online dating service of any kind. But only one-third of those people actually go on dates with the people they meet online.
So why can’t people follow through with their online relationships?
“People are so busy nowadays, especially college students, it’s really hard to go out to public places to meet people,” said Maeve Kessler, a freshman environmental science and policy major. “I’ve had things I call ‘Snapchat relationships,’ where you can say things over text message and Snapchat but you’re afraid to say them in person. … Those don’t really work out.”
To some students, Tinder is used for instant gratification through meaningless hookups. Samantha Hawkins, a journalism graduate student, said dating apps affect how college students have relationships.
“It’s just kind of a ‘one-and-done’ thing, like ‘Oh! I feel like I need someone tonight,’ and then we [are] done with that person,” Hawkins said. “Dating before the social media era, I imagine there were more real dates, instead of just chilling or hooking up for a night.”
For those trying to meet people, the world of dating apps and anonymous users can be off-putting, especially if the technology isn’t the ideal form of flirting. But to freshman computer science major Alejandro Baez Corral, the issue is culture, not the increased use of dating apps.
“People are going to hook up anyway,” Baez Corral said. “At parties or afterward, they’re just going to meet them immediately. [Tinder’s] just speeding up the process of that and not by that much.”
Despite a pile of poor experiences and various social media horror stories, social media might also be the thing that keeps relationships alive in the modern age. Kessler is in a long-distance relationship — her boyfriend lives in Pennsylvania — and she finds that Snapchat is the best way to stay connected.
“Snapchat has let me be able to see him every single day and I’m able to talk to him,” Kessler said. “Having a way to see his face every day is really great.”