How Tinder Became A Gateway Dating App
Tinder killed the stigma of online dating. Traditional sites like Match took too much effort to set up and their branding wasn’t cool. Assembling a full profile was too much to ask. If you could meet someone in real life, why would you go to all that trouble?
Smartphones gave online dating new life and Tinder seized the opportunity. It provided the blueprint for the modern gamified dating app. It’s easy to sign up. You import your Facebook pictures and write a brief profile. That’s it. This user flow empowers busy singles to jump into the dating pool without any friction.
It’s taken awhile to get to this point. It’s no coincidence that they’re all owned by the Match Group. Both Match and OkCupid have since stolen Tinder’s gamified style.
Regardless of which app you use, the increase in online dating is staggering. According to Pew, it has tripled amongst Millennials ages 18-24 since 2013. It has doubled amongst older adults, ages 55-64, from 2005-2015. In general, approval of online dating has increased by 15% in that timeframe.
Tinder still has bad word of mouth. It’s thought of as a hookup app, but that’s not the case for everybody. In fact, that reputation gives safe cover to people that want something more, but don’t want to come out and say it. While 22% of students use Tinder for hookups, 44% swipe to pass the time and boost their confidence. There is a good 70% of users amongst students that don’t meet up with anyone at all.
Out of over 20 billion matches, Tinder reports that 80% seek a “meaningful relationship.” So it either has an unfair reputation or the app’s a bad fit for the majority of its users.
Let’s get real, Tinder’s not for everybody. Traditional dating platforms recreate the experience of a blind date. They provide all the relevant information like a close friend. Tinder is more like meeting someone at a club. It’s designed for you to make a move the moment you see a pretty face.
You can tap on someone’s profile, hear their favorite Spotify track and peep their Instagram. These features mirror the superficial topics you’d discuss at a bar. You can almost hear the club music in the background as you’re swiping left and right. That’s Tinder.
Match launched in 1995, OkCupid in 2004 and Tinder in 2012
Enter the new era of choice in online dating. The app market has fragmented. There were always competing sites, but now Tinder serves as a gateway to niche apps. It gets people in the game. They meet a broad base of users on Tinder, have a strong reaction and seek out the platform that’s right for them.
If you’re a farmer, there’s Farmer’s Only. If you are religious, there are still sites like Christian Mingle and JDate. Some singles have exclusive agricultural or religious preferences. Deal with it.
Each of these platforms defined online dating for their eras
The League brings another interesting twist to online dating. It caters to elite singles with high-powered jobs or prestigious alma maters. Tinder responded with Tinder Select. It targets the high-end of the market by stacking the ple of keeping things classy. It keeps the dating pool within your network of friends, which serves as a quality filter.
Some apps regulate the market like a socialist democracy. Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel are examples of this trend. Bumble forces women to make the first move. This eliminates the onslaught of horrific messages they otherwise receive. Coffee Meets Bagel limits the number of matches you can receive per day. These designs reduce the dehumanizing effect of swiping through millions of interchangeable soulmates.
There are a handful of location-based apps as well. Their goal is to keep dating in the real world as much as possible. Happn is an example of this. It’s what the Missed Connections section of the newspaper would look like as an app. If you walk by a Happn user on the street, you can connect with them on the platform.
Not every matchmaking app is for dating. Clover encourages you to meet friends as well as dates. Even OkCupid lets you set your status to platonic. Then there are apps like Atheist dating websites free Shapr that aren’t for dating at all. They take Tinder’s conventions and apply them to professional networking.
We’ve entered a new era where you can meet the people you want to meet without having to rely on chance. There are naysayers that dismiss online dating as artificial and unromantic. They need to get with the times. Consider Melvil Dewey.
Before the Dewey Decimal System, all we had was a pile of books. We’ve since invented online catalogs, but his system was the only way to sort large collections for a long time. There’s a reason why Dewey’s invention sustained us for so long.