MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Since the beginning of time, men and women have been searching for the same thing: true love. That’s why we love romantic movies like “The Notebook” and sign up for dating sites like Match.com, eHarmony, and OkCupid. And now there’s Tinder.
The smartphone app claims 750 million swipes a day, and 10 million matches. Users say that’s in part because it’s free and easy.
“You swipe left to say no, and swipe right to get a match. It’s just kind of fun, and thrilling (to get a match), I guess,” said Maria Stukey. “When you’re using it, a picture of somebody comes up and it tells you their age and their name.”
But that’s it. A picture and a name. If each person swipes right, you have a match. If either one swipes left, that’s it.
“It kind of cuts out the first step of wondering, ‘Do they like me? Do they not like me? Are they attracted to me?’ And it moves right on to the next step,” said Stukey. “I’ve gone on dates with doctors, lawyers, a pathologist, a dentist, and some professional athletes.”
“It’s just something cool, different, something for people my age,” said John Zwanziger. “I swiped right and then she obviously did the same thing pretty close, because we started messaging a few minutes later.”
The app is crazy popular and somewhat controversial. On a sunny afternoon at the University of Minnesota, WCCO found plenty of students who’ve used the app — though only a few would talk on camera, perhaps owing to Tinder’s reputation as, as one student put it, a “hook-up app.”
“It’s probably abused more than it should be” said another student.
Still, many people find meaningful matches. But can relationships built on such a surface-first app last?
“Tinder isn’t really that different than the good, old-fashioned personal ad,” said Carol Bruess, a professor of interpersonal communication at the University of St. Thomas.
Bruess worries about people who think finding a soul mate is easy.
“It can serve a great purpose,” she said. “I just say we need to lower our expectations a little bit.”
All relationships take a certain amount of heavy lifting to see if the people are truly compatible. Any relationship that starts with a swipe might just need a little more, she suggested.
“It’s a start,” she said, “but it’s just a tiny little start for what we know it takes to develop a long-term relationship.”
One interesting fact about Tinder is that it’s owned in part by the same corporation that owns two of the other highly popular dating sites: Match.com and OKCupid.