Tinder, Bumble, and others changed the dating world, but is it all for the best?
Dating apps have changed the world in more ways than even the greatest minds could have predicted.
Instead of approaching someone in person, you can swipe right on their dating profile or the profile of thousands of people in your general vicinity.
There are even some dating apps dedicated to specific subsets of the population to best serve underserved groups, such as lesbian and trans communities. On the surface, the growth and spread of dating apps has benefited a lot of people; however, there are many negatives worth considering for both users and those considering apps.
While this list is not exhaustive of all the positives and negatives that dating apps present, we hope it gives you a good introduction to how more than 10 million people worldwide are looking for love on a daily basis.
1. Dating apps connect people who would otherwise never meet
Dating apps are remarkable websites for connection. One way to think about the way dating apps achieve bringing people together is by thinking of one’s daily routine: If someone goes to work or goes to the same coffee shop at the same time on the same days, they can really only meet people on the same schedule or people who are early or late from their normal schedules.
Meeting someone in this way requires luck, charisma, or for the person to already be part of one’s social circle, which is also not feasible for everyone. Dating apps make it so meeting someone is not serendipity, but instead reasonable, as both people declare how far they are willing to go to meet someone.
No longer is someone required “to go to the ends of the earth” to find a partner when their soulmate frequents the coffee shop down the street.
2. Dating apps help mitigate issues related to “love-shyness”
Love-shyness is one’s inability to approach someone to ask them on a date or for a relationship. Reasons for love-shyness might include being anxious in social situations, fear of rejection, or low self-esteem.
Dating apps allow one to skip approaching someone in person and instead allows them to indicate interest with just a quick right-swipe on a phone screen. As well, because every profile has multiple pictures and a short biography that the user can curate, there is little guessing about who someone is when using a dating app.
Lastly, because many dating apps are entirely text-based, it is easier for someone with love-shyness to communicate with an app than in-person. Because of the combination of these aspects, someone with love-shyness can engage in dating and learn everything they need to be successful daters.
3. Dating apps have succeeded in having a large pool of potential partners
Not only can users find partners outside their regular circles, talk with people easily where and talk with someone there is already mutual interest, but there is also a near-infinite pool of users.
Dating apps have succeeded in marketing to people all over the world, and the response has allowed for dating apps to have someone for everyone. While this benefits the bottom line of the business, it also benefits the people who want the highest chance possible to find their partner.
1. Dating apps may enable digital stalking
While arguably less-dangerous than real-life stalking, digital stalking is something that people should be wary of when creating a dating profile. Dating app profiles can have a lot of identifying information, including first name, location, place of work, university and pictures they use on social media.
All of this information can be plugged into Facebook to quickly and easily find someone’s personal info. Once someone’s personal social media is found, the outcome can be anywhere from annoying to dangerous, depending on the individual doing the stalking. With a large pool of users with their own motives for using the app, it is safer to have as little identifying information as possible.
2. Dating app data is used for marketing and research
While only the people who work for the companies know exactly how the data is used, some apps have been more forthcoming with their results than others.
A study from OKCupid in 2015 sparked outrage when they published results on a survey measuring race and attractiveness, which they later took down. This data was gathered without explicit permission from its users.
While the terms of service allowed for this data to be gathered, this is not the only time that dating app data has been used to learn about its users.
According to a recent report, Tinder, OKCupid, Grindr, and Happn all sell user data to advertisers. While selling data is becoming a recurring story with social media apps, it is worthwhile to know which apps are selling data and how that data is being used.
3. Dating app users are applying for jobs where your love life is the recruiter
his last point is probably best known as “catfishing”, or lying on a dating profile to get people to swipe right on you. This can include anywhere from exaggerating one’s biography or manipulating photos to outright lying or using someone else’s photos.
Some might argue that the point of dating apps is to stretch the truth because it is hard for many to sound interesting on paper without making a few small lies. But lying will often sabotage the first time two people meet in person because the interests may not overlap as well as was expected, or the person who looked 25 in their photos was really closer to 50.
While many of these experiences will often just lead to a bad date, some catfish may be lying to lure their dates into false senses of security. This is why the first meeting should always be done in public, so even if the date is bad, the person who is catfished can make it home safely.
Dating apps in the future
Dating apps have changed the way we date, so learning about them is important for understanding how society works. Their existence means that dating needed to evolve, and its evolution has allowed for relationships that would have never existed to blossom.
Every reader knows someone who met a partner on a dating app, and perhaps they have already tried using a dating app or will try it in the future. It is important to keep oneself safe too, and knowing the risks of online dating are important when entering that space.
Dating apps are not a perfect response to the individual issues of dating, and once people actually meet in-person, a dating app cannot do much more. With that said, dating apps have made dating and first impressions a lot easier, and for that reason, they are worth using.
Image Source: nodstrum, Андрей Миропольский