Since the dawn of the iPhone, the smartphone club has always had its exclusivity—the little cultural blips you can only understand if you are an iPhone or Droid owner. There are the addicting games (Angry Birds, Temple Run), the unique social networking apps (Instagram, Snapchat) and even combinations of both (Draw Something, Words With Friends).
Lately there is another new app craze that’s sweeping the nation. If you’re a smartphone user, you probably already know that I’m talking about Tinder, the hot-or-not dating game that is keeping users even more addicted to their phones.
I was, per usual, oblivious to the growing trend until it got monumentally large and impossible to ignore. I decided it was time to experience Tinder firsthand and report my findings for others unfamiliar with the new craze.
First, you download the app and create an account. To prove that you’re human, you have to connect via Facebook. With a sinking feeling that I was selling my soul, I agreed to let Tinder connect to Facebook, send me notifications, use my location. I felt highly uneasy, but foraged on for the sake of information.
Once you’re connected, you make your profile. You’re allowed to post up to five photos, in case you couldn’t get enough exposure to strangers. You can also post a status, but I wasn’t feeling witty enough to condense my essence for the plebeians.
Next, the game begins. The premise is quite simple–you’re presented with a photo, name and age, and you can choose to either pass (a foreboding X) or like (a warm red heart). If you pass, the person’s photo is stamped with a “nope” and you move on to the next one. If you like the person and they like you, a match is made. You can chat with your matches and hopefully make some kind of love connection.
For someone who’s always been skeptical of online romance, this strikes me as uncomfortable. I’m terrified enough that I’ll end up marrying someone I knew on Facebook before I knew them in real life. Imagine explaining Tinder to your kids—“well, I clicked her heart, she clicked my heart, yadda yadda yadda, and that’s how I met your mother!” (If this is the actual ending of How I Met Your Mother, I won’t be pleased.)
You’re allowed to limit the distance from your potential matches —anywhere from xx to 10 miles away. I set mine to 10 miles to minimize creepiness. Once I started seeing the profiles of BC acquaintances and friends-of-friends, I realized that there was no way of minimizing creepiness on Tinder.
I couldn’t help but feel bad about judging people by their profile pictures. The little voice in my head, even if I found a match that I felt tempted to click “like” on, kept warning me that no matter how dreamy their picture made them look, they could always be an American Horror Story-style serial killer. You’ll end up dead, the little voice warned me, or worse, on a date with a poor conversationalist.
Slightly concerned that other acquaintances might find me and I’d have to explain that I had joined purely for research purposes, and in fear of being disappointed by boring good-looking people or murdered in cold blood, I deleted the app and disappeared from the Tinder universe, hopefully without a trace.
So what’s the verdict? Maybe it’s not for everyone, but there’s no denying the app’s popularity, and as long as nobody’s in danger, there’s nothing wrong with a little flirty fun. But for all of its spark, Tinder did not light this reviewer’s fire. For those of you who can’t get enough of it, be safe and happy Tindering!