(At this point its been more like two weeks since I’m late in posting this.)
Recently, I decided to conduct a bit of a social experiment. I had heard a lot about Tinder and if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably have too, and you know what it is used for. For those of you who don’t know, I’ll be nice enough to enlighten you. Tinder is somewhat of an online dating app. According to my extremely credible source, Wikipedia, “Tinder is a location-based dating and social discovery application (using Facebook) that facilitates communication between mutually interested users, allowing matched users to chat.” Another incredibly reliable source, Urban Dictionary, defines Tinder as “A popular dating app for college students used on iphones and androids. In which you select individual based on your attractiveness to said individual and an individual brief statement. Its pretty much the most shallow thing in the world.” (Yes, I chose one of the nicest definitions from the website. Feel free to read some others if you feel the need.) If you don’t know how it works, here’s a quick idea:
1. Download app
2. Connect to Facebook and choose up to 6 photos you want to represent yourself with.
– They don’t even have to be of you! I have seen a lot of pets and cars. Choosing a main photo of you posing with your more attractive friend seems to also be a favourite, and if you play any instruments, you’ll want to make sure to have a photo of you playing that as well!
3. Maybe write an about me section. Serious or sarcastic.
– Apparently height is a requirement as well, at least for men.
4. Choose gender, distance, and age range of potential suitors. (I missed this step originally.)
5. Start swiping! Left for no. Right for yes. And a new(ish?) feature, up for Super Like!
6. Message the people who mutually swiped right, or not. Its up to you.
You may be wondering, “why would you subject yourself to this?” I can’t speak for the millions of others out there who have made profiles on the app, but for me the answer is quite simple. Pure curiosity. I’d heard about that app, including both good and bad stories of Tinder dates. Here’s a story on Youtube. So a little over a week ago, I decided to conduct my experiment and share the results on this blog. Before I get into all the details I will tell you that there are a lot of things I could have done, but did not do, to supplement my experiment. I hope you enjoy my findings anyway.
When I first set up my Tinder account, I chose the maximum amount of photos, six, to represent myself. Obviously I included the photos which I felt best represented me, while also being flattering. The first photo I chose was my favourite, it also happens to be my photo on the blog. Of course its deceiving because I don’t actually know how to play guitar. (I’m pretty sure other people also have deceiving photos.) This is the first picture that people will see of me, and the only one they’ll see if they choose not to look at my “profile”. The next five photos including one in New York City, a couple from sorority formals, and one of me canoeing. (If we’re friends on Facebook, you can probably guess which pictures they were.)
Next, I started swiping. Let me tell you, that Urban Dictionary definition of Tinder being shallow is spot on! I felt so shallow and judgmental because I was basing my swipe direction purely off of looks, age, and name, so I began to look at the profiles as well. I noticed quickly that a lot of people included interests in their profile, so I soon added a few hobbies and activities to mine before continuing to swipe through people. It still felt shallow, but at least I learned a tiny bit about someone before I inevitably swiped left. I’m pretty sure my ratio of left to right is 100:1 meaning that I didn’t find very many guys appealing. (That’s an exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like!)
In the first couple days, I realized that I had subconsciously created a criteria that someone had to meet. Remember that I didn’t find the built in age filter for a few days, so I would automatically eliminate anyone under the age of 21. Eventually I discovered the age filter settings and changed them to fit my needs, but not before a few awkward moments. (At one point, there was an 18 year old that I knew for a fact was in high school because he plays basketball. Of course I swiped left, but that was a strange moment.) Moving on to more subconscious requirements, if they had a picture of them partying, they were out. I don’t mind it necessarily, but if that’s how you choose to represent yourself, no thank you! Anyone with a mirror selfie also got nixed. If you’re going to post a selfie, use the front facing camera on your smartphone that I can obviously see in the mirror! Do you see what I’m saying about being judgmental?!
Despite my low ratio of right swipes, I did end up matching more guys than I expected. In the past almost two weeks now, I have somehow matched 25 people. I’ve always considered myself to be pretty average looking, not the most beautiful by any means, but also not hideous. Just kind of in the middle. Between that, being picky, and only using the app on occasion, I was surprised by this amount of matches. (Maybe it was that deceiving guitar picture.)
I made a decision early on that since I was only doing this as an experiment, I wasn’t going to start any conversations. I left it up to the guys to begin the conversation. Only one did, which actually kind of relieved me. I didn’t want to have to break the news that I wasn’t actually interested in meeting anyone. I have to admit that I expected everyone on the app to be a little douche-y, but the guy I ended up talking to was pretty nice. We ended up talking about travel which was cool. Luckily, he lives in St. Louis, so I have a good excuse to not meet him.
I had expectations of having a terrible experience on Tinder of guys only wanting to hook up, but it actually turned out okay. Maybe it was because of my judgmental qualifications! And maybe its because not all people who use shallow apps are shallow people. Whatever the reasons, I was pleasantly surprised with the way my little social experiment went. I realize that to get the full experience I should have begun conversations and eventually gone on a date, but my intentions being what they were, I didn’t want to do that. For now, I’ll be deleting the app, but maybe in the future I won’t find it the most horrible way to meet people.
If you’d like me to conduct any other social experiments, let me know! And if you have any funny, interesting, or awkward Tinder stories, I’d love to hear them!