Virtual love is now a reality: the rise of Tinder

Over the last decade or so, there has been an increase in our generation’s online presence and the rise of social media as a popular form of communication. With this came the inevitable, and quite impersonal, evolution of dating.

Gone are the days when everyone you know has met awkwardly through a fix-up or on a night out. Here to stay are the rising number of couples who meet up in cyberspace.

Along with the cringe-worthy profiles and niche dating sites like Elite Singles and, the use of smartphones and mobile apps has produced a new and almost bearable alternative; Tinder.

Launched in the US in late 2012, the application quickly gained popularity among college students and young singles, with the average user being 23 years-old. Getting set up is easy, all you have to do is download the app and sign in with a Facebook account. The app gives you options to pick your preferred partner’s gender, age (e.g 20-25), and location.

This is a distinctive characteristic of Tinder; it allows you to pick how close to you your suggestions will be, giving you a bar to indicate how many kilometres they have to be in range of. Then you pick a few pictures for people to see and write a short bio of less than 500 words. After that, it’s quite simple. Much like a game, batches of suggestions appear on screen and you swipe left or right, depending on whether you want to reject or accept the suggestion. If the other person has swiped right too, you get a match and are then able to message each other.

A problem associated with this is that you will be based solely on your pictures, which demonstrates the vanity of the application, but shared interests, friends and an interesting bio can also play a part.

Founded by Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathon Badeen, the idea came about due to mutual friends having trouble meeting people. Speaking at a conference in LA this year, Rad said that Tinder was “like the real world but better”.

The application has not just been popular with college students either; it experienced a 400 per cent day on day increase of new users in Sochi this year during the Winter Olympics.

Although the ‘swipe game’ has proven very successful (the company is reported to be worth millions), Tinder is now looking into expanding its objectives to include friendship, matchmaking and even business.

A new feature, unveiled by the company last May, would have allowed matchmaking to become easier too. Matchmaker would involve setting up two Facebook friends who you feel would work well together. In order to do this, you access your friends through the normal app and select the two you wish to match. Monitoring the success rate was another part of the feature.

According to a Forbes interview last year, Rad and Mateen said they were not sure if it would catch on or not but that they had been testing it with 100 users for a month. No such feature has appeared on the application here yet. Perhaps Tinder is best left to those wanting a quick flirt or fling and not for the Cupids who want to find true love for their friends.

Even the security and privacy of Tinder is not under question, which is something rare for a social networking site or application. Though there was a brief hiccup in July when a security vulnerability was found relating to their location feature, the company quickly fixed the issue. Another problem was found by web developer Shaked Klein Orbach, who said that due to the app storing users’ Facebook ID numbers, they could be hacked and matched with someone neither party swiped right to.

Again, the issue was resolved and CEO Sean Rad thanked Orbach in a statement to Quartz; “We want to thank Mr. Orbach for pointing out a way to create a match with another user through manipulating certain API calls. We are committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure the privacy of our users and we appreciate the help and support of great engineers like Mr.Orbach.” Relatively down to earth and filthy rich – a good combination for any company.

Janine Kavanagh

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