Hot or Not: The Tinder Epidemic

When asking fellow peers, coworkers, and even flat out strangers their opinions on Tinder, I received a multitude of answers. Some giggled and mocked the app, a few recalled rare occurrences where it came through for them, and one went on to tell me how I could improve my “tinder game.” However, the one thing they all had in common was that they had all, in one way or another, been familiarized with the app that has taken our age by storm. For those who don’t know what tinder is, just think of an app which is synced through your facebook account which establishes a profile for you. Your profile includes up to six pictures, a short bio, and other users of the app are shown your facebook friends and interests you both have in common. The users you are shown are based on your location, and you can do one of two things: swipe right for yes, or left for no. If both users swipe right to the other’s profile, a match is created, and you are able to message each other. What happens at that point is entirely up to you. Around the same time I moved to Chattanooga, I purchased my very first smart phone. I decided to try tinder to see what all of the hype was about. I’ll admit, it was intriguing and exciting. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was that interested me, but the idea that I had a whole city to meet and could filter through these users with my fingertip was very empowering. Besides, the gratifying feeling of getting a new match was flattering, even if I was being solely judged based on a few pictures and words hand selected by me. As time went on, I slowly began to lose interest in the pastime. It was difficult to make the same small talk with multiple strangers at once, and had one too many creepy text messages from one user that I regrettably gave my number to. Months after deleting my app, I have only stayed in contact with one person I met on tinder, and that is only thanks to awkward encounters on campus. Not once did I go on a date with a user, have more than a twenty minute conversation with them face to face, or even consider them a friend. In fact, on more than one occasion I’ve met another user coincidentally, and neither of us admitted to previously knowing each other via the app. So what’s all of the talk about? Maybe I’m not very good at the Tinder scene, and should take my coworker’s advice on improving my game. However, is it really something that we should even consider mastering? While the new notification of another stranger finding you attractive is appealing, it slowly removes our ability to socialize in person. Each new innocent swipe of our fingers is taking down the promise of face to face connections brick by brick. Tinder is an ingenious idea targeted towards our age, but my hope is that one day we can completely remove our mobile devices from our social lives. A synced app should not help us determine who to talk to based on their best selfies or similar interests, so please, spare yourself the embarrassment of running into an old tinder match in class or even your place of work. Introduce yourself by complementing a band shirt or their movie ticket selection. While interactions like these have slowly been removed from our everyday activities, these genuine conversations are what matter most. Nervous introductions in person are what lead us to find our future best friends, or even down the wedding aisle, not a swipe right because you both like the same independent film director or weird band you listened to in the 8th grade but forgot to take off of your facebook interests. Real interactions are what count.

-Caroline Bible

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