The Love Game

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 TheLoveGame

WORDS | Jessica Sheridan

There is no denying that finding love in the modern world is a whole other playing field. Most of our parents met for the first time face-to-face, whether it was at school, university, work, or through friends; but today, more and more people are finding love through other avenues made available only by technology.

I personally met my current partner online, and many others are also enjoying the World Wide Web when it comes to connecting with others. This has led to a plethora of online dating websites. Places like eHarmony opened their virtual doors to the online world and now have over 15 million members, while Match.com has expanded even further with over 21 million members. It’s undeniable that people are opening up to new ways of meeting online.

And why shouldn’t they? Studies have shown that online dating can be very successful, with some suggestions that couples who meet online have stronger relationships than couples who meet offline. It is estimated that around one in five relationships in the US started online. In fact, statistics also show that those who meet on dating websites are married more than twice as fast as those who meet face-to-face.

However, a new breed of match-making has emerged in the form of dating apps. They include the likes of Grindr, Brenda, Blendr, and perhaps most well-known, Tinder. And as with much of today’s modern technology, it is aiming to speed up the process; efficient dating at your fingertips.

Tinder allows people to connect with others, but unlike the internet where your potential dream date might live half a world away, Tinder operates by connecting you with people in your area. Simply sign up using your Facebook account (it doesn’t post to your Facebook page but it will use your information and current profile picture, unless prompted otherwise) and begin ‘playing’ the dating game.

For those that don’t know how it operates, Tinder is very fast paced, and to the point when it comes to your potential connections. Ask Tinder to show you who is in your area and they will offer a picture of someone nearby, along with their name and age. You can then, either hit the x and the like buttons, or alternatively swipe the picture to the left to say no, or to the right to say, ‘yeah, let’s give this a go.’ If you both flick each other to the right, then you will be able to start conversations with each other.

The app is incredibly popular, reporting that around 10 million matches are made every day by people who both decided to swipe to the right. Tinder certainly advertises itself towards a fun and fast method of connecting with others, while still trying to replicate the real-life experience. At least, that’s the idea.

Most students have heard of Tinder, and some seemed positive about the ideas. “There is less stress involved compared to the possible rejection that can be felt when physically meeting people,” said one student. While it is true that rejection still exists in the app world when people don’t swipe back, Tinder does not inform you when others have kicked you to the left. So in many respects, the app is an excellent ice breaker without the awkward aftermath if you are rejected.

Other students were more sceptical. “I used Tinder in the early days when it wasn’t just a hook up app.” Rather than a way to connect with others, some students noted that the app was mostly used for ‘hooking up’ rather than any long-term connection. One student who had tried dating someone they met on Tinder was also unconvinced, identifying perhaps the most inherent flaw of socialising online rather than face-to-face. “People seem to only put really good things about themselves on social media these days.”

Despite these resignations, the app is incredibly popular and well-known. Even if it doesn’t always serve the purpose it originally aimed for, it does still have its quirks, and it is interesting to see the kinds of people willing to find a connection online. People appear to be much more open to putting themselves out into the dating scene when they can easily control what others see about them. So what happened to love at first right?