“Congrats, you have a new match!”
These are the words that hopefully appear after swiping right on a potential love interest or hookup on Tinder.
In today’s digital world, the internet presents us with a plethora of opportunities.
We can take college classes online or grocery shop without ever leaving the house. And now, with dozens of dating apps and websites, we can foster romantic connections through the use of technology.
One of the first dating websites, eHarmony, launched in 2000, allowed users to cultivate long-term relationships. To join the eHarmony community, users must pay a fee and develop a profile.
Dating apps, on the other hand, are convenient, less serious and free of cost — unless you want to pay for premium.
Match Group Inc. is the parent company to many popular dating apps including Tinder, OkCupid, Match.com and PlentyOfFish. The parent company went public in 2015, and its mission statement according to the filing is: “Establishing a romantic connection is a fundamental human need. Whether it’s a good date, a meaningful relationship or an enduring marriage, romantic connectivity lifts the human spirit. Our mission is to increase romantic connectivity worldwide.“
While promoting romantic connectivity may be the mission for an app like Tinder, it is unclear whether users engage with Tinder in this way — especially on Lehigh’s campus.
Though intentions may not be clear, there has been a recent spike in Tinder use at Lehigh.
Tinder has been tempting college students all around the country with a Cardi B concert, and Lehigh made the top 16 list.
According to Tinder’s website, “the university with the most RIGHT swipes by the end of the competition will win a FREE concert with Cardi B.”
This is strategic on Tinder’s part, as it provides students with an excuse to download the app and begin swiping. But are students truly just on Tinder for Cardi B, or are they actually swiping right on that cutie in class?
People using Tinder or other respective dating apps have different intentions that can lead to mixed results. Maybe students at Lehigh are just in it for the free concert, but there could possibly be some underlying desire to actually meet someone and form a connection. As the Match Group’s mission states, “establishing a romantic connection is a fundamental human need.”
But vulnerability can be frightening.
Dating apps are representative of our generation as a whole. They are noncommittal, casual and make it seem normal to not treat dating seriously.
Having picture after picture of strangers and acquaintances at your fingertips to approve or disprove of makes the premise of the app feel like a game — like the people you come across are not real since the interactions can be solely virtual.
The seemingly never-ending selection of potential matches could give the impression that people are disposable. Even if you find a solid match, it’s hard not to think about the constant stream of other, possibly better, potential partners in digital space.
Whether or not students like to admit their underlying purpose of downloading dating apps, it is satisfying to receive instant gratification.
By choosing the best photos, crafting a catchy bio and calculating witty messages and responses, Tinder not only allows users to put their best selves forward, but allows them to calculate a persona that is deemed attractive.
There is satisfaction in knowing that a match finds you attractive. There is comfort in knowing that people on their phones are seeing you as the “perfect” version of yourself.
But it also allows people to put up walls and protect themselves from vulnerability. Sometimes, it even invites swipers to be hypercritical of other users potentially for the wrong reasons.
Our generation doesn’t communicate directly anymore. Whichever force brings two people together, a successful relationship requires honesty and authenticity.
Even though dating is going digital, the foundation of romance is not changing. Being able to spark up a conversation is a necessity in face-to-face dating as well as dating virtually.
Maybe Lehigh students came for Cardi B and stayed for the small hope of finding a connection. That isn’t the worst thing in the world.
So if you end up swiping right and matching with someone you have an interest in, don’t use Cardi B as a safety net. Be authentic. Strike up a conversation.