Tinder: Innovative online dating, ego booster or hook-up app?

By The Beacon | September 12, 2013 1:34am

By Lydia Laythe |

A picture flashes across the screen. It only takes a few seconds to decide: “Like” or “Not.” Brown hair. Blue eyes. Nice smile. “Like.” Blonde hair. Brown eyes. Big ears. “Not.”

Tinder, a mobile dating app for iPhone and Android, is half online dating site and half teenage slumber party game. Tinder combines the anonymity of Facebook creeping with the excitement of speed dating to create an app that people enjoy for a lot of different reasons.

Sophomore Ben Forsee got a Tinder account as a practical joke on his friend.

“We started messing around with it,” Forsee said. “We didn’t want to be mean to the girls.  We’d just send them stupid (stuff) like ‘Hey, do you like big muscles?’ and they’d say, ‘Oh, yeah.’ And (we’d say) ‘Well that’s a damn shame because I don’t have any.’”

Getting a Tinder account is easy.  After downloading the app, it automatically syncs with Facebook to draw important information, like first name, interests, Facebook friends and profile pictures for the Tinder account.  Once it’s set up, meeting people is as easy as playing Fruit Ninja or Temple Run, with the same (if not more) excitement.

Users are randomly shown pictures of other singles in the area. Tinder shows the user a picture of a proposed match, and the user can either “Like” or “Not” the picture. Swiping the picture to the left indicates “Not.” Swiping the picture to the right indicates “Like.”  If the other user has also swiped “Like,” the two users become a “match.” Once a match is made, the user can choose to message their new match immediately or “keep playing.”

Senior Amanda Ewing said she’s met interesting people on Tinder, like Trail Blazer summer rookie player Charlie Westbrook.  But she also warned of awkward interactions.

“There have been (UP) faculty that I’ve seen on there and I’ve just been like ‘nope,’” Ewing said.

But Tinder isn’t something everyone enjoys. Junior Boomer Fonken said he doesn’t like Tinder or other online dating resources because it’s not as genuine as face-to-face interactions.

“Getting up the courage to talk to somebody (is important),” Fonken said. “(Online) it’s easier. People don’t have to put in as much effort.  Everyone wants things to be easier and faster. That’s pretty typical of our generation. Everything’s going online now. I hope I don’t have to do that.”

Ewing said she uses Tinder hopefully, but realistically.

“I think I’ll meet the right person at the right time,” Ewing said. “And you just never know where they’re going to be.  So it’s just my way of putting myself out there, even if nothing comes of it.”