‘Casual’ dating app Tinder popular with college aged
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 23:02
With the recent media frenzy surrounding Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend and the popularity of MTV’s new program “Catfish: The TV Show,” people might be wary of turning to social networks for love.
However, a new mobile application geared toward college-aged students called Tinder could have some Ohio State students reconsidering.
Launched in September by Hatch Labs, Inc., Tinder is a free anonymous dating app that allows users to find “matches” who live nearby based on mutual interest. Similar in idea to other match-making forums such as Match.com and OkCupid, the app differs in the fact that its target audience is a younger, more mobile-friendly demographic.
Alexa Mateen, the social media director at Tinder, said the app is more “casual” than other online dating forums.
“With some of the other matchmaking sites, you have to make full profiles and there can be this scary and awkward anticipation,” Mateen said. “Tinder eliminates the hurt of getting turned down.”
Ellie LeBuhn, a first-year in international studies and communication, recently downloaded the Tinder app on her iPhone.
“I was curious to see what it would be like because a lot of my friends have it … and some people get really into it,” LeBuhn said. “I know people who have had serious and long conversations on Tinder, but usually most of them are just really funny and a joke.”
Tinder operates in a three-part process, according to the iTunes app description. First, the app shows profiles of fellow users who live within a 50-mile radius. Each user can then “anonymously like this person or skip to the next suggestion” by swiping either a green heart or a red “X.” Finally, if both users “like” each other, a match is formed and users can choose to message each other or keep looking for other matches.
The app was first introduced on several college campuses, but has since taken off with more than a million Tinder matches made. Mateen said there have been more than a billion Tinder profile ratings since the launch of the app.
“We wanted to give everyone a second chance to meet people that they wouldn’t naturally be able to meet,” Mateen said. “We wanted to find another way to break that ice, and it doesn’t necessarily just apply to dating, but it can be used for friendships as well.”
To create its matching system, Tinder requires all users to link their Facebook accounts with their Tinder. After analyzing data such as shared Facebook friends, interests, networks and proximity, top scores are calculated based on relevance, and these top matches are presented to users first.
Jenna Robinson, a first-year in strategic communication, said Tinder has the potential to create some awkward situations for OSU students.
“I’m scared to use Tinder,” Robinson said. “What if you’re walking through the Oval or you’re at a party and you see someone who is your Tinder match?”
Though Tinder uses individuals’ current Facebook profile pictures for their main Tinder photos, users can select up to four additional photos for their profiles and can also provide short biographies. Despite having access to Facebook material, Tinder vows that it will never share any private user information, according to its privacy policies.
Collin Stewart, a second-year in finance, said some of his friends have been promoting Tinder but personally thinks the app is “a little bit creepy and weird.”
“I think it’s odd for college-aged kids to use online dating websites because we can go to bars and meet people, but when you’re older than 30 it makes a little bit more sense,” Stewart said.
Tinder was ranked No. 9 on the iTunes Top Free iPhone Apps in the Lifestyle category Tuesday, and is rated 12+ due to mild mature or suggestive themes, mild profanity or crude humor and mild sexual content or nudity. The app has an average rating of 3.5 stars out of five, based on nearly 500 ratings.
The newest version of Tinder was updated on Feb. 8, which focused on fixing crashing bugs.