How many couples will have met online this Valentine’s Day? More than ever before is the inevitable answer as the Tinder phenomenon continues to sweep the world.
But, is this database of human character condensed into 5 pictures and 10-word bios the place to find an actual partner?
In the mid-90s, Match.com began the online dating trend which has grown into modern apps like Tinder and Bumble. However, the difference from then until now is that substance and compatibility have gone out the window in favour of superficial physical attractiveness – a swipe right to like. According to science, it takes up to 60 seconds to decide if you are attracted to someone physically, and far longer than that to decide if you are compatible on a long term basis. So, how then, is it effective to decide in a mere few seconds whether someone is right for you? In this fast paced and isolating society, time is scarce and validation is rare, so to be able to gain a connection and validation simultaneously and instantaneously is understandably appealing. The questions I want to ask are, is it healthy and is it sustainable? Does this instant swipe, instant like, make up for actual human connections; for talking in real life; for speaking to that stranger you caught eyes with on the subway? Why, in this world that’s half digital and half in reality do we value someone’s online appearance over their physical character?
Tinder’s largest demographic is 18-24 year olds and its usage is expanding year by year. As of the end of 2018, Tinder had 57 million users. Both of these statistics allude to Tinder’s growing popularity from its conception in 2012. For me, the vastness, intricacy, and depth of a person cannot be conveyed through a picture which is dwelled on for but a moment. While I wholeheartedly agree that Tinder provides a brief reprieve from the the epidemic of loneliness and wanting present in modern society; I think that it breeds an unhealthy superficiality and discourages actual human relations. I know plenty of people, including myself, who have made real connections on the likes of Tinder or Bumble, and healthy relationships have stemmed from these connections. However, I do not agree with the culture that it breeds; a culture of meaningless hook-ups and focus placed on external appearance.
In short: life is short. Don’t wait for them to pop up on your screen, or in your recent matches. Talk. Engage. Live in the present.
-Lucy Donaldson, Lifestyle Editor