15/09/2013

The changing face of online dating

Match.com, uniformdating.com...  You wouldn't find many 18-30 year-olds signing up to these sites.  The stigma that is attached to online dating paints the picture of someone who is in the autumn of their life and desperately searching for a companion.  For the millions of single people out there, online dating it seen as very much a last resort.

For single twenty-somethings, online dating is a no-no.  Until now, that is.  A new dating app has taken off which has given online dating a much needed face lift.

Tinder is growing by the day as thousands more people sign themselves up and enter into the game.  The app connects to your Facebook profile and uses a selection of your profile pictures and your profile information in order to build your Tinder profile.  Then, using your current location, it suggests people who are nearby to you.  If you like them, you say so.  If you don't, you say no and move on to the next person.

The brilliant thing about this app is that if someone doesn't like you back, they never have to find out that you liked them.  Better than that is when you like someone who also likes you and you get the exciting message informing you that you have a match.  You then have the option to message this person and strike up a conversation.

The key thing to note about this app is the option to 'send a message or keep playing'.  Essentially, this is a game.  An ego boost which picks you up when you are having a bad day.  There are people on it looking for fun, looking for something serious, and, most commonly, looking for something casual.

So does this mark a change in the perception of online dating?  With the app growing by the day it seems that young people are embracing the dating game and jumping on board the Tinder band wagon.  Over the last few days I have been playing the Tinder game and have met some really interesting people.  I am not on it looking for a date or to meet up with any of the people on there, but a lot of the people that I have spoken to are.  This tells me that the online dating stigma has been removed, with more and more people keen to join in the fun.

Allegedly, the app is popular with celebrities.  Unfortunately, I have not come across Prince Harry on it yet.  Although I would probably need to extend my 30 mile radius first.  I have, however, found a lot of people I know from school or college.  This presents a slight dilemma - do you like their profile to be polite?  Or do you risk giving them the wrong message?  Have they seen you too and have jumped to conclusions as to why you are there?

Of course, there are the risks that there are with online dating.  Do you know that the person you are talking to is the person that you see in the photo?  Is the person really as genuine as they seem?  And do you go and meet up with someone you have met over the internet?  I would still view Tinder with the same caution as I would any other dating website.  But, then again, I would never meet up with anyone I met through the app.

It is just a fun and exciting past time which makes you feel better about yourself without the rejection and the knock backs.  It's an easy way to meet people near you, if that is what you are looking for.  It's the perfect way to find like-minded people who are looking for something casual, serious, or a friendship.  All of this without the shame of admitting that you are a member of an online dating site.

The novelty is starting to wear off a bit now, though.  Last night, I received a message from a guy I was matched with which said 'I put the STD in STUD, now all I need is U'.  Wow.

Tinder has passed the time at work, given my ego a big boost, let me chat to some weird/interesting people, and taught me that the perception of online dating has definitely changed.  It is challenging, head-on, the stereotypes of people who use online dating sites and shows how technology is influencing that change.

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