By Kayla Tucker – A&E/Features Editor
Either you love it, hate it, or could care less about it. Whether you’re on the Tinder wagon or not, the reality is that today’s growing technology is opening many doors for us, and fast. All around campus, students are swiping left and right, making weighted decisions after viewing just a photo and a name.
So here’s how it works.
First off, you must be at least 18 years of age and a Facebook account is required. Write up a bio about yourself and then pick your interests.
After you’ve created what you want others to see from you, it’s time to see who’s in your area. The “home page” is essentially a list of people that fit within your age and distance preferences. By tapping on a person’s photo, multiple photos are available, the bio, and interests that you both have in common, if any. If interested, swipe right to “like” them. If not, swipe left.
If someone “likes” you back, you both will receive a notification saying that you are a match, enabling you to message each other and view each other’s “Moments” – photo statuses that can be uploaded from your phone.
So, is Tinder good or bad? According to Jarrod S., 25, a Grand Rapids Community College student, it’s really up to the user on what they choose to make of it.
“It depends on how serious you want to take it,” said Jarrod S., who has had success making friends and, sometimes, relationships through Tinder, which he describes as a “tool” to be used whichever way the user decides. “It just depends on the person and what you’re looking for and what the other person is (looking for). It isn’t just a magic kind of thing.”
What does this say about our society?
Does the Tinder revolution forecast a day when nobody meets in person? Or, is our society continuing a constant social cycle, but with the help of more technology?
Only time can tell.
Danielle Leek, Associate Professor in the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University, said that how we perceive others today is no different than how it used to be.
“I don’t think that that’s any different than how it used to be when a woman or a man, whether gay, straight, or otherwise would stand at a party and look at people and (decide) at first glance: yes, no, yes, no, yes, no,” Leek said. “In that situation, you’re kind of forced to talk to that person a little bit more…(now, Tinder) decreases the opportunities people have to actually talk with someone else because it helps to narrow the range of people that you’ll talk to.”
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, the fact that we are glued to our phones more than ever before. According to Leek, people of our generation are more likely to know someone after a few minutes of “profile stalking” than a whole semester of sitting next to them in class.
“We are totally what is on our phones,” Leek said. “It’s become an extension of ourselves.”
To sum it up, Tinder is just the next step in online dating, the only difference being that it’s faster, more accessible, and the swiper has total control of who they might match up with. The longing for love will never go away, the technology innovators will simply further the path to make that task easier.
“People feel like they want to be with the right one,” Leek said. “People don’t feel like they have to settle anymore…it’s one more avenue that people can use to see if there is somebody out there that is a connection to them.”
Those who swiped right and never looked back
While Tinder may seem shallow to many, some users are finding happiness with the matches they’re making.
Bruce Jones, a 26-year-old GRCC student, has been with his girlfriend for nine months, and they have Tinder to thank. Jones said he originally met his girlfriend at a bar. After losing track of each other, the couple reconnected after they both swiped right, and the rest is history.
“I don’t think we probably would have ended up dating without the app,” Jones said. “I think that was just kind of the nudge that let each other know that we were attracted to each other.”
Not only is the app good at bringing people together, or back together, Tinder allows it to happen in seconds.
“It’s a little faster and easier to meet those people you want to meet,” Jones said.
Cody Sackett, 19, student at Central Michigan University, met his boyfriend Riley McEntire, 20, last September after becoming a Tinder match. After texting for a couple months, they met in person toward the end of November.
“We started dating in December, and we’ve been together for almost three months,” Sackett said. “I think our relationship is going pretty well. I’ve never liked someone as much as I like him.”
And as for those Tinder horror stories, Sackett feels he is lucky to have defied the odds.
“I don’t encourage people to meet on Tinder, but I like to tell people my experience, just so that they know that there is another option of what could happen,” Sackett said.
The key to finding a serious relationship, and not a one night stand, is to “play it out,” Sackett said. “If you meet up with someone, the pressure to hook-up is higher.
If you want to avoid the people just trying to hook up, make sure to read their profiles.”
McEntire and Sackett share the same mindset, Tinder is in your control, it’s what you want if you make it.
“I still consider it a hook up app,” McEntire said. “I think it is what it is, but I think Cody and I changed what it meant to find someone. I don’t think the perception of Tinder has changed, I don’t disagree with what it’s used for. I consider it an app with which to find strangers that are interested in lots of different things. But I didn’t use it for that.”
Sackett feels that Tinder offers an opportunity to find love for those who may have a hard time finding it.
“It’s harder to meet somebody in person that you feel compatible with, especially if you’re homosexual,” Sackett said. “I went to high school somewhere where only a few of the students were openly homosexual, and most of them were taken. That made it difficult to find someone near me to date, since all of them were dating each other, or dating someone from a nearby school.”
Both couples admitted that they have deleted the app now that they have committed to each other.
There are always possible dangers when dealing with someone you have never met. When you decide to meet up with someone on Tinder, you sign off to the risk that comes with online relationships.
“It boils down to common sense,” GRCC Police Lieutenant Jeffrey Hertel said. “You don’t really know who’s walking in the door.”
Here are a few things to remember before going on your first Tinder date, courtesy of the GRCC Police Department.
– Meet in public.
– Tell a friend where you’re going and who you’ll be with.
– Don’t give out more information than necessary.
– Don’t assume that this person is who they say they are.
– Don’t leave any drinks or items unattended.
– Swipe right – Like the profile
– Swipe left – Reject the profile
– Click on the current photo to see more pictures and a profile summary.
– Profiles are linked to your Facebook to get information about interests and Friends, but other users can’t connect back to your Facebook account.
All users are listed by first name and age only.
– Naked photos
– If you can’t see their face
– More than one person in the photo
– That the age doesn’t match the photos
– Photos of cars or scenes
– Fake profiles and sketchy links