Exploring AU’s dating app culture
Swipe right on campus
There is no doubt that apps like Tinder and Grindr have revolutionized the dating scene and easily allowed users to find who is single and ready to mingle. Though they were initially created for users to find sexual and romantic partners in their area, students at AU have found additional uses for these kinds of apps, such as finding new friends and boosting their confidence.
Approximately 15 percent of U.S adults have used an online or app dating service, according to a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center. The same survey also stated that five percent of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship met their significant other online.
While this research shows that online dating can lead to legitimate relationships, it seems as though some AU students are using Tinder to meet people rather than hook up. AU freshman Fraser Lee H. said she uses the app because it’s easier to meet interesting people around her.
“[The] best part is that you can meet some really interesting people you would not meet in your everyday life,” Fraser Lee said about a friend she met on Tinder. “I met this one guy who is a pianist. He was really cool and super talented. I probably never would have followed his Instagram or talked to him if I hadn’t met him on Tinder.”
Apps like Tinder create social dynamics in which users are judging each other on very little outside of appearance. If one “swipes right” on a user that one finds particularly attractive, he or she can assume that the other finds them equally attractive if they match. This is a simple way to regularly compare oneself to others.
“You can make yourself look any type of way on an app, [and] not everyone is who they say they are online so as a female you have to be very careful about who you meet,” Fraser Lee H. said.
This is a risk that anyone who uses a dating app must take into consideration. A Consumer Research report ran surveys that analyzed topics like which dating platforms are most used, how long relationships lasted, and how often users felt sexually harassed.
The report found that 57 percent of females reported that they have been sexually harassed as well as 21 percent of males. This poll looked at several online/app-based dating services, and Tinder held the highest reports of harassment with 39 percent of users polled reporting sexual harassment.
Though freshman Angus M. says he can imagine how people might be nervous meeting up with matches, he really enjoys apps like Tinder. Similarly to Fraser Lee, Angus M. said Tinder is “just a new way to meet people. It’s honestly no different than going out to a bar.”
In regards to his overall use of the app for hooking up, he said it contributed to roughly “ten percent [of overall hookups] but I’m not an active hookup seeker on the app.” Instead Angus M. uses Tinder “mostly as a game for a confidence boost rarely does anything come of it...I think the best is the ego boost when you match with people and the worst is when you don’t match with someone drop dead gorgeous.”
Note: Some students did not wish to be fully identified for this article, and their last names have thus been left out.