Love at First Swipe

The Science behind Tinder Has Changed Dating in the Modern World
Here’s something to think about: If Tinder — the increasingly popular online dating app, had been around in another era, would Romeo have found Juliet — or would she have swiped left? Would Snow White and Prince Charming have been a match given their proximity? Would Elizabeth Bennett have been interested in Mr. Darcy based on his profile pic alone?

Welcome to Tinder, the app that is changing the way people approach online dating. It has become the way to date — casually and otherwise — and it’s now a multinational phenomenon. According to Tinder founder and CEO Sean Rad, the app is responsible for 750 million swipes and 10 million matches made per day, with membership growing by 15 percent each week.

Anyone who has ‘tindered’ before knows that it’s easy to fall into the soothing swiping rhythm, with repetitive swipes left and right, as if it were a game — except that real people are swiping you back. What exactly about this dating app made its popularity skyrocket in such a short time, leaving millions of users hooked?

Unlike mainstream dating sites based on complex compatibility algorithms rooted in a users response to countless questions, Tinder connects singles using proximity from your smart phone’s GPS and your age range preference. You don’t need to fill out a long profile. You just need a Facebook account, a few photos, and a thumb ready for swiping. The app syncs with your Facebook page and pulls your profile photo along with other basic data. From there, Tinder shows you photos of potential suitors. One-by-one, you swipe right on someone’s picture to let him know you’re interested or left to never see him again. As of this year, 750 million people have been ‘swiped.’

Many agree that Tinder is undoubtedly shallow. You judge a potential match primarily on physical appearances. However, the company defensively insists that it mirrors the way things work in real life. Attraction to physical appearance tends to precede everything else. Tinder has taken that and rolled it into a simple platform. Superficial — yes, but could this bare minimum approach be on to something?


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