In today’s digitalised culture, the chances of meeting a partner are higher while using a dating app, than, for example, going to a bar. Online dating sites have become the new cool. These platforms allow the browsing of countless profiles of available strangers, who present themselves using ready-made features and website structures. Moreover, this one-way gazing takes place remotely, from the comfort of one´s home.
Most of the popular dating apps on the market focus on pictures and lengthy profiles. The possibilities of genuinely drawing conclusions on the person behind the profile are limited, as people tend to use a sorting mechanism, judge potential partners by their profile pictures and other impersonal information. Uniformity and pre-constructed expectations seem to leave no room for deeper, more unique details.
Tinder, for example, will search for all possible matches around users, thus filling the distance gap and making dating more accessible. The ease of access and the immediacy of results are among the features that make this app wildly popular.
Deception and delusion play a big role in the working mechanism of these apps. Notions of honesty and truth are not necessary, and users are likely to create an image of themselves, they deem desirable, regardless of it being genuine. Older apps, such as Facebook, have raised some privacy issues, but hundreds of millions of users are still loyal. It is, then, unlikely that dating apps are being criticised on grounds of transparency or (lack of) privacy.
Dating apps can also affect the structure of romantic relationships, and the ease of commitment: the simple fact that so many other people are available can give an impression of unlimited access, of the possibility of always meeting someone new (and maybe better). The readiness to accept and tolerate flaws, and to overcome challenges is likely to decrease, and be replaced by an eagerness to simply find someone else.
Extracts from Tinderella project by Kirra Cheers
What people make of dating apps is not always negative. I spoke recently with Greg Johnson, a 21-year-old man from Sheffield, and user of Tinder for more than 2 years. I found his take on Tinder interesting: "I have used Tinder since I was 19. I used it out of interest, initially, and also to get over my ex, because I was struggling with that. I never really took it seriously, until I met a girl that I really liked. I eventually ended up dating this girl, and somehow I felt like I'd never even used Tinder to meet the girl in the first place, after some time went by. It was simply an initiator."
Dating apps, such as Tinder, can be abused, but they do have the positive trait of giving individuals the chance to meet people, who otherwise would remain unknown. What seems to matter is individual use of technology, which comes down to personality, values, and intentions.
Words: Taruka Srivastava
Image source: Tony Oursler's template/variant/friend/stranger, 2015 installation view at Lisson Gallery, London.
Copy edited by: Elena Stanciu