It’s my opinion that Tinder is the most superficial of online dating sites. Its reputation as a hook up site has supposedly changed recently to more of a good place to meet people. Your profile consists of a photo, your age, occupation, where you went to school and distance in miles from prospective matches. You can write a very brief story about yourself and what you’re looking for. I guess I compare it to OKCupid, where I met dozens of men, through their matching algorithm that uses your answers to many personal questions to compare to potential matches based on their answers. You can filter your matches by age, relationship status, and distance. You are shown the “match percentage” based on answers to the questions that are compared between you and your prospects. There are bar charts indicating degrees of personality traits of individuals. It usually felt like I could get a feel for someone who may have messaged me based on their profile.
With Tinder, photos flash quickly on the screen and you “swipe” right for like, left for dislike. It turns out to be a quick second or two evaluation of a photo with a location in some cases. If you swipe right on someone who swiped right on you, you’re shown as a “match”.
I spend very little energy on Tinder as I’m not exactly commited to finding a relationship at this point, but I suppose I am keeping a lookout should Brad Pitt show up one day. You never know.
When I do give it some time, I get a bit of anxiety about the snap judgments I seem to be making. I quickly rule out guys who are geographically distant. I’m disturbed by my ability to think I can tell if someone is a good match based on a few seconds of looking at their photo. Is this really so different than the seconds long assessments we make about people in real life? We quickly judge people based on looks all the time.
What if I’m swiping left on my true soul mate because he lives in New York City, or I don’t like his hair or teeth? I guess I’ll never know.