This Is How Tinder Is Dehumanizing You
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I admit, I am late to the Tinder party. I was in a relationship when it was released and obviously had no reason to download it. But recently I have become curious and jumped on board to see what all of the hype is about.
For those of you unfamiliar, it is a simple concept. The app shows you pictures of people on your phone on which you can swipe left, or right. If you swipe someone’s photo to the left, a red NOPE comes up, and it’s on to the next. If you go right, it is a green LIKE, and still, on to the next. The only way you can actually communicate with anyone, is if you have both liked each other.
Each profile is full of up to six photos you can view, and a short bio (though, many people choose not to write one).
I was genuinely curious about the effectiveness of this concept because I had heard some great things from people who met their current significant other through Tinder. Many others will tell you it’s just a “hookup app” and people are only on there looking for one thing.
I have mixed opinions. On one hand, I see the appeal. If you know what you’re looking for in a boyfriend or girlfriend, it is relatively easy to determine if you are attracted to the next photo that pops up and if a quick scroll through their others shows a lifestyle and interests that would potentially be compatible with yours. It’s a great way to “weed out” the wrong people and only open yourself to communicating with (at least, who you assume to be), the right ones.
But on the other hand, you have just summed up and made assumptions about a real live human being with wants, needs, desires, dreams, goals, passions, and loves…from six photos and a short bio. And what’s just as bad is, they have also done that to you.
If we are self-aware, we notice what happens as we get wrapped up in scrolling through photos. We become increasingly judgmental and picky. We can tell within seconds if we want to swipe left or right on someone, and if their initial photo doesn’t interest us, we won’t even look at the others – or their bio. What’s more is people who don’t even have a bio, so we are stuck making a decision solely on their appearance.
Tinder basically helps people treat each other as a product. As disposable. As nothing more than a photo and maybe a witty quote. To put it in perspective, think about yourself. Can your beautiful existence be summed up in a few Instagram shots and a short bio? I didn’t think so.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to immediately sizing people up and being affected by a first impression. It is human nature. But nature also involves lions killing and eating deer. It’s not the most beautiful part of nature, but it’s a reality. What Tinder does is takes that lion and deer and puts them in a closed room. It is literally giving us a platform where we have no choice but to immediately judge others based on appearance and decide if we want to talk to them or not. When you exploit biological nature, it always gets ugly.
The other side of the coin is on the rare occasion that you do find someone that you’d like to swipe right on, you are brought into an abyss of uncertainty if the app doesn’t congratulate you on having a match. I mean, it’s obvious that this person just hasn’t come across your profile yet, because if they did, they would swipe right on you also. Right?
Aren’t we hoping for a match every time we swipe right on someone or click that little green check mark? Aren’t we hoping for their validation in return? If we are not on there with the very goal of getting matches, then what is the point?
We need to get back out into the world. To interact with each other. To absorb someone’s entire existence and really get to know them. Mannerisms, voice, body language, and a million other factors can make somebody more (or less) attractive than a photo would suggest. Our conversation skills (or lack thereof) are certainly getting no exercise when many Tinder approaches are canned, cheesy lines that are copy and pasted to all of someone’s matches. Sure, eventually the idea is to meet in person, but you never know what you’re going to get when all you’re going on is somebody’s highlight reel.
What are your thoughts on this app and the process behind it? Do you think it should be seen as serving a certain purpose and nothing more? Have you had a good or bad experience? Let me know in the comments below!
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