No, it’s not the new Grindr; and, actually, according to Tinder CEO Sean Rad, he’d prefer that you avoid using the “d” word when it comes to describing Tinder, the social app that he launched in September. “We really believe that the word dating — and even the idea of dating — is now pretty dated,” Rad says. “We didn’t create Tinder to be an online dating app; instead, we created it simply as a way for people to connect.” And, with 100 million matches (and around 30 marriage proposals) to date, it seems that Tinder is living up to its mission statement — and finding so much success that, just yesterday, a version for Android devices launched.
Yes, Tinder can be used for hooking up, or going on dates, with matches that are made either through users' physical proximity to one another or through one's Facebook network. But, Rad emphasizes that users can make the app exactly what they’d like it to be. “There’s a level of comfort and a natural ease to meeting people [on Tinder]," he says. "There’s no rejection and no hassle, because people are only being matched with people that ‘like’ them, as well.”
Despite the fact that the app is about much more than simply romantically linking users, many users have found that scoping out the eye candy on Tinder — and the ability to quickly and ruthlessly sort through potential matches — is as exciting as actually meeting people. Wanting to get to the bottom of what users are getting out of Tinder in real time, we reached out to a few anonymous Tinder lovers to give us the dish on how they’re using tech’s new toy — and whether they think that you should dive in, too.
Male, 22 years old
"I blame my roommate for my slight addiction to Tinder. Had it not been for him, I wouldn’t casually be spending random bits of time swiping left or swiping right on faces I think are cute. I could be reviewing my to-do lists, or getting a few more pages into whatever book I’m reading, but instead, I feel a need to open the app — because who knows if someone genuine will come along.
"That’s the key word when it comes to Tinder: I feel like it’s more genuine than other dating sites like OkCupid or Grindr. I like how it links to your Facebook profile, shows you shared interests, and maybe mutual friends. It’s a preview into your online profile — and shares a glimpse at the 'real' you.
"I see Tinder as a virtual bar. You scope out people you find physically attractive, and if they think you’re cute, you start talking — just like seeing someone across the bar and saying hi. Personally, I’ve never experienced a user who’s cruising around for hook-ups — that’s what Grindr’s for (although these stats seem to argue differently). That, I believe, is something highly concentrated in the gay community, though. The gays on Tinder are looking for something more than one night stands. My straight friends, however, treat it differently. I’ve noticed more heterosexual friends finding hook-ups over dates on Tinder — and most of my girlfriends either roll their eyes at the mention of the app, or don’t even know what it is.
"Either way, there’s nothing like the ego boost you get when you’re matched with someone else. That middle-school giddiness builds (“Someone liked me! Someone swiped 'right!'”) — even the most cynical of people will get elated by that. Do I sometimes feel desperate when swiping left a bunch of times? Obviously. Sometimes I even become a serial swiper, just to see if someone liked me, too. The same sense of validation you get from someone reblogging your Tumblr post or liking your Instagram happens when you’re matched: validate me, right? It’s more fun than anything. I don’t have high hopes for it; I’m not opening it thinking today’s the day I find The One, but isn’t that how you should treat real-life dating, too?"
Female, 25 years old
"Oh, Tinder — the talk of every girl's brunch from here to the West Coast, but what makes it so great? Well....it's like porn for girls, in a way. I'm actually in a very committed relationship, but I find Tinder incredibly entertaining. You can superficially judge someone in an instant, and if they like you back, you get that exciting butterfly feeling, like in middle school when you would get a note passed to you from a crush in the hallway.
"But, worry not, I have a strict boundary when it comes to my Tinder usage: Absolutely no conversing with the other person, just looking. If they talk to me or harass me, I block them. Now, does my boyfriend know about this? Yes. Is he happy about it? Absolutely not. But, here is my rebuttal: he looks at porn, and uses porn. I don't. I just emotionally fill my need of having a few matches here and there, and call it a day.
"Maybe some of you are wondering what happens when I feel like I've been matched with the man of my dreams. Well, maybe I'm missing an opportunity, but I am very happy in my relationship, and I strongly believe what is meant to be will be. Only once did I think there was a sign from my Tinder usage. I was matched with a particular gentleman...cute, my type, lots of mutual friends. Two days later, LinkedIn connected us, and then he even somehow showed up in my Facebook newsfeed. Was it a sign from the technological heavens? Maybe, but I'm not letting social media dictate my love life right now.
"To all you single ladies: I'd highly recommend it. Go on dates, flirt, and enjoy being matched. You don't have to deal with people harassing you, or weird old men sending naughty pictures to you. Plus, in places like New York, you are bound to run into your Tinder crush in person, so there's still an element of serendipity in the mix — embrace it, I say!"
Female, Age 24
"Okay, so first of all, when I signed up for Tinder, it was a total drunken joke. There was a blizzard outside, and I was snowed in having cocktails at my friends' apartment. So, I signed up so that I might be able to find a big, strong man in the area to carry me home (obviously).
"I've since convinced all of my friends to get on Tinder. The super-quick, hot-or-not interaction is really addictive, and hilariously fun. In the beginning, I never answered any guys who messaged me, despite the fact that they were all smokin' hot (obviously, I picked them). The first guy I actually answered shared a few mutual friends, so it felt safer and more organic.
"The second guy I ended up meeting was super-sexy — I showed a bunch of my girlfriends his profile, and they convinced me to invite him out with us. All went well that night, and he ended up coming home with me. I had to get some work done the next morning, but he ended up staying until three in the afternoon, before finally getting the hint that I was busy, and that he should go home. I was totally weirded out. He then proceeded to call me almost every night for the next two weeks. To this day, several months later, I still receive the occasional call. I don't pick up.
"There has only been one Tinder man thus far who has been a big success for me. We've now been on about five or six dates, and he's incredibly sweet, super-funny, and he has a dog (major brownie points). I'm not really at a point in my life where Im looking for something serious, but I'm definitely interested to see where this goes."
Male, 38 years old
"I got started on Tinder pretty much the moment it came out. OkCupid has gotten so staid, and getting a date on there is all about pitching yourself, like the worst job interview ever. Tinder, however, I booted up, and immediately there are all of these good-looking women on there who have interests and friends in common with me. I liked one woman, and moments later, it told me she liked me. We were off to the races.
"Naturally, I originally thought Tinder was Grindr for straights — now I know that it's really a tool, and you'll get out of it what you put into it. Again, for someone like me, it's a great way to chat someone up who already likes the way you look, and see if a drink or dinner is in the cards. The pressure is off, so it's much more natural and easy. Maybe one night I'll get that 2 a.m. N.S.A. hookup out if it, but that's not what I'm using it for at the moment. I really think it is a step forward in dating — assuming you're a rational, polite, non-misogynistic non-douche.
"I like how Tinder really matches me up with people that are in my sector, so to speak. But there's always potential for weirdness. Once, I was flipping through Tinder, and the girlfriend of an acquaintance of mine (a girlfriend who I always suspected was with him for the money) pops up with a roll of sexy pictures. Busted! Beware, people, Tinder will bare your sins!"
What do you think of Tinder? Let us know in the comments!