A few days ago I decided to step into 2014 and try Tinder.
All of my 40 and older male friends swear by it. The reviews by women I know, however, have been a little less glowing.
I resisted for a long time because I assumed that Tinder just wasn’t a viable option for a woman my age. I was also hesitant to use an app that required that I link it to my Facebook page. I learned that my fears were unfounded. All that Tinder displays is the short bio I included on my FB About Me page and my primary photo. I try to avoid posting photos of myself to social media. Even good ones. I’ve grown increasing uncomfortable with people (friends and acquaintances and “friends” commenting on my appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very appreciative of supportive comments. What I fear is that I’m posting the photos with the intent of getting likes and comments. I also don’t care for men who write offer opinions on my photos or looks as though they’re entitled to voice an opinion on such matters.
I had the ability to edit the short bio and choose additional photos from my Facebook account. My original About Me blurb included a link to this site and the various publications where I appeared. Part of me just wanted to say screw it and leave it as is. But I knew that would only impede the whole process as guys might think I was on there for material. I was also concerned that it might attract the status-seeking types. I don’t really care if people know my name or can easily find me. If someone is determined enough, they can figure out who I am. I’ve long since stopped caring about that.
For those of you who haven’t tried Tinder, here’s how it works. You choose your search settings based on age and location only. Up pops screen shot after screen shot of people that fall within your selected preferences. The only information you are given is their first name and age (as listed on their Facebook page) and a very brief bio. Some people don’t even fill that section out. You can either select X for not interested or the heart if you are interested. Or you can swipe left or right respectively. You can only communicate with someone if they also choose you as a match. The app sends a push notification/alert when you and someone you liked are a mutual match. People are not alerted to the fact that you liked them. Only if they randomly come by your profile and swipe right, too, are you and they alerted that there is a mutual match.
So, what has my experience been? Well, I have to admit that I was quite surprised by my results.
- I have gone through about 200 profiles and selected about 30 men. In 3 days I’ve matched with about 10 different men. Compare that to OKCupid where I might send out 15 messages over a few weeks and hear from maybe 1 person.
- There are a good number of men 45-55 in NYC to choose from, which I wasn’t expecting. My search range is 38-52.
- The app appears to refresh and find new matches frequently.
- Tinder requires much less effort than a regular dating site. There’s nothing to pour through and there’s no pressure to create original intro messages.
- You don’t hear from anybody unless you want to hear from them. That means that 100% of your emails are from people you’re interested in.
- Profiles display mutual Facebook friends and interests that you and they have selected via Facebook.
Of course, there are a few down sides to Tinder.
- Users don’t have much info to go on when trying to determine compatibility. All you have is that bio, their age and the photos they’ve chosen to include. That’s it.
- Since the information you have is limited, you often end up having to exchange a number of emails so you can properly introduce yourself to your match. As someone who loathes this kind of thing, that’s a big detractor for me.
- The number of pointless back and forths that go nowhere is higher with Tinder, at least for me.
- The number of Fades after one or two messages was higher for me.
Some things to consider:
- Since my response rate on Tinder is higher than it is on OKCupid, it makes me wonder if something about the content of my profile or my profile details are getting in my way. I post the same photos – including 2 full body shots – on both sites/apps, therefore it’s unlikely the pictures are the problem. I’m wondering if other people have had a similar experience.
- With the popularity of Tinder on the rise, how will this affect traditional online dating sites and the user experience? We’re moving towards only requiring photos at this point to determine interest. Will people eventually grow intolerant of having to write and read full profiles? Will their attention spans grow even shorter?
- For people who still require all the steps and personal info, will they be able to survive with all the changes in the digital dating landscape? My answer is no. But then, I think that’s an example of self-selection. They will be weeded out of the process. Which is probably a good thing since those people – the ones who are so selective or suspicious – probably aren’t available for relationships in the first place.
Have you tried Tinder? What are your thoughts?