Monday 26 January 2015

Love me Tinder

Tanya Sweeney asks if the app is the holy grail of dating, a fad that will soon fizzle out or a sign of everything that's wrong with romance in the modern age

Is the Tinder app the holy grail of dating?
Is the Tinder app the holy grail of dating?
Justin Mateen and Sean Rad

In this day and age, courtship looks set to go the obsolete way of teasmaids, faxes and pansticks. Some day, we'll tell our children how generations past would meet for dinner, dances and real-life dates as a way of connecting. We'll wistfully reminisce about chemistry and sparks ... y'know, the good stuff before technology took over.

Well... we'll tell our children if we ever manage to connect long enough to have them.

Smartphone apps offer a variety of services at the click of a finger: taxis, meditation guides, even hangover services. And now it's possible to mainline right into Ireland's burgeoning hook-up culture.

Launched just 18 months ago, Tinder has been a gamechanger. Simply put, it's the holy grail of dating – Paradise Found for singletons.

It goes a little something like this: users scroll through pictures of singles in their locality, endorsing them with either a thumbs-up or a hands-down 'no way'.

Save for a few pictures – taken from the person's Facebook account – there is little information given on potential suitors. One is informed of mutual friends and interests on Facebook, while users can also create a tagline (think: 'those kids in my pictures aren't my own').

The fluff that is the absolute scourge of online dating is done away with, allowing users to concentrate on the visuals.

On the surface, Tinder appears like good, clean, harmless fun. The app is 'played' much like Candy Crush Saga, giving it an easy-come-easy-go quality.

This casual, game-playing aspect means users don't feel they're publicly declaring their hand, or telegraphing the idea that they're online, looking for love. "I may as well be on it as not," says one friend.

She's not alone: since its launch date, Tinder has seen as many as 1 million users join in the US alone within a three-week period. In Ireland, it is thought that around 275,000 Irish people – about 6pc of the population – are already on Tinder, and the user base is growing by 1pc a day.

"We saw a huge spike in Irish users in February last year, and again in July, for some reason," reveals 27-year-old Justin Mateen, who co-founded Tinder with his friend Sean Rad.

In Ireland and elsewhere, the 18-24 age group accounts for 52pc of users (7pc of users are in the 13-17 age group, 32pc are in the 25-34 age group, 6.5pc are in the 35-44 bracket, while 1.5pc are in the 45-54 age group).

Already, Tinder HQ is being notified of 10 million matches and "at least" one Tinder marriage a day, "and they're only the ones that we know about".

Credit where it's due: Mateen and Rad strategically targeted a certain type of person during testing. Young and trendy folks, essentially, who would baulk at the idea of online dating. Once dynamic young gunslingers were involved, the rest of the online dating-averse world followed in hot pursuit.

"I think we've made the process of meeting people more efficient," says Mateen. "The goal is to make things happen offline when you're comfortable. The trick is to be engaging and fun and let your personality shine. In a way, it's like meeting someone in a coffee shop. If you connect with them, you'll have a lot more to say."

"As humans, we have the desire to meet new people, and in the past this meant doing it physically," he says. "Think of a missed opportunity, like walking down the street. Tinder brings that moment back to life.

"With Tinder, you know the person is interested, so you start the conversation with a heightened sense of confidence. It emulates how humans interact."

Weekend Magazine

Promoted articles

Also in this Section

Promoted articles

Top Stories

Most Read

Independent Gallery

Your photos

Send us your weather photos promo

Celebrity News