The phone application Tinder, with its orange flame logo, has truly “caught fire” in Provo, adding a new technological component to Provo’s robust dating scene.
The app, currently available only for iPhones, is used by more than 200,000 people daily, according to an estimate by AppData. Tinder lets people anonymously suggest interest in members of the opposite gender in their area by “liking” them. If two users indicate they “like” each other, they are deemed a “match” and directed to “chat” with one another.
Tinder takes the user’s location and presents him or her with a stream of photos of potential “matches,” listing only first names. Based on the photo, the user can choose to either “right swipe,” implying attraction to the candidate, or “left swipe,” permanently rejecting him or her. If a contestant’s cover photo catches intial interest, the user can view up to three additional photos and see common interests as per their Facebook profiles.
Users will not know if someone has swiped right on their photos unless they swipe right on that person’s too; Tinder enthusiasts are assured their interest will remain unknown unless the interest is mutual.
Tinder user Jenny Christensen, a business management major at BYU, described the application as “hilarious and awesome … a light-hearted dating medium.” She explained that while it could be “creepy” in a big city, in Provo it’s fun because most of the people who appear on Tinder are students the user has heard of or met before.
For example, Christensen said she was browsing Tinder with one of her friends in the Wilkinson Student Center one day when she noticed that a girl whose photo popped up on her friend’s Tinder happened to be sitting at the table directly behind them.
“I think it’s a cool icebreaker to show that you’re kind of interested in someone, even if it’s just funny,” Christensen said. “A ‘like’ on Instagram doesn’t mean anything these days. Everyone ‘likes’ everyone’s pictures. But I feel like if somebody ‘likes’ you on Tinder, it’s more like they’re interested.”
Jenny Christensen explained that her married friends are jealous they can’t be a part of the Tinder craze. “I’m glad that I’m single during the Tinder fad,” Christensen said.
Exercise science major Kade McQuivey said he finds Tinder to be a fun way to use up time. He described the app as a “quick, maybe shallow confirmation that you’re interesting and people want to meet you. … It makes you feel good when you match up with someone.”
“It’s that confirmation that I am cool and people do want to get to know me,” he said.
But Tinder can be more than just a fun way to suggest interest in potential dates or to gain quick ego boost.
Civil engineering major Zane Pulver described himself as an introvert who spends most of his time in the Clyde Building. He said Tinder has worked well for him by allowing him to reach out to girls he may not have otherwise, all because of mutual “right swipes” on a phone application, and he has gone on a date with a girl after meeting on Tinder (they’ve planned a second date). Pulver explained why he thinks the app can work even better than a blind date.
“The fact that both of you said you liked each other creates a certain expectation, a certain confidence,” he said. “You meet a lot of people on there that you normally would not meet and ever run into, ever. I think that’s one of the main appeals to Provo, especially, as everyone is so into the whole dating scene.”
While many have generally good things to say about Tinder, others express less positive opinions. Even Pulver warned of the addictiveness and superficiality of the application.
“Just looking at it, you can say you really like (a girl) just from one photo. You can’t really say that because you have no idea about the person,” he said.
Jane Colton, a business strategy major, only kept her Tinder account for about 24 hours because she “got kind of sketched out.”
In her short time on the app, she had multiple strange encounters with various “matches” and described her overall experience as negative.
“I think it’s great that it introduces people outside of their typical social circles,” she said. “But we live in Provo, Utah — one of the easiest place to find people outside of your social circle if you try.”
“When your grandkids ask you where you met your husband,” Colton added, “you’d never want to say, ‘A social media app. … We saw four pictures of each other.'”
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