App is known as much as a quick route to 'hooking up' as a dating service
Tinder has become one of the most divisive - yet pervasive - online services of our era. It is used in equal measure as a dating and a 'hook-up' app; a quick way to find someone who may be willing to sleep with you.
About 200,000 Irish people have a Tinder account, with 30,000 using it every single day, according to recent data from Ipsos MRBI.
The basic principle with Tinder is simple. Tell the app what kind of person (gender, age range) you're interested in meeting and it starts showing you people nearby. Swipe right if you like the look of them, swipe left if you don't. If a person you like swipes right for you too, the app connects you and you can chat or arrange to meet up. If this sounds superficial, it is. It is largely based on looks and little else.
For this reason, Tinder is known as much as a quick route to casual sex as a dating service.
Walk into any city bar on a Saturday night and you'll see twenty-somethings sitting there swiping their phone screens.
It's not just grown-ups. Previous research from Ipsos MRBI has shown that one in six teenagers over 15 also uses the service.
There are some notional safeguards built in. To sign up, you have to use a Facebook account or a phone number, meaning you don't have total anonymity. So if someone really wants to find out more about the person they're connecting to, they may try searching in Facebook for the name and photo they see on Tinder. Aside from that, it's a pretty laissez-faire environment.
Critics of Tinder say that it is contributing to a generation which regards relationships as on-demand services to be ordered by swiping an app.
This is countered by those who argue that Tinder has given shy people, or those who are geographically isolated, access to relationships.