The Weaknesses of Online Dating

Cable USB in form of heart

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Matthew Kassel’s New York Observer piece about his frustrations with online dating is sad, endearing, and very good. In short, he argues that OKCupid, Tinder, and their ilk encourage an endless series of first dates that don’t really go anywhere. His complaint has merit that extends beyond his own experiences: Researchers generally think that online matchmaking algorithms do a poor job of determining who will be a compatible long-term pair.

[M]any aspects of online dating do not appear to improve romantic outcomes and might even undermine them. For example, the widespread emphasis on profiles as the first introduction to potential partners seems unfortunate in light of the disconnect between what people find attractive in a profile versus what they find attractive when meeting another person face-to-face, a problem exacerbated by comparing multiple profiles side-by-side. In addition, browsing many profiles fosters judgmental, assessment-oriented evaluations and can cognitively overwhelm users, two processes that can ultimately undermine romantic outcomes. Furthermore, it seems that the CMC [computer mediated communication — that is, messaging] available through online dating sites only increases attraction toward a potential partner if the duration of CMC is brief (a few weeks or less), and it can potentially undermine attraction if it yields unrealistic or overly particular expectations that will be disconfirmed upon a face-to-face meeting. Finally, despite grand claims to the contrary, it is unlikely that any matching algorithm based upon data collected before people have encountered each other can be effective at identifying partners who are compatible for a long-term relationship.

Tinder users are sharing what they really look like

On Tinder vs looking at Tinder

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Surveys have suggested it takes us five attempts to style a selfie we are happy with sharing on social media, and that women can spend a staggering 48 minutes a day taking selfies. Men can take a while too, I’ve certainly seen a lot of men flexing in mirror selfies. Including this one, possibly the worst of all time.

Now, singletons have taken to social media to expose the discrepancy between their Tinder pictures and their more quotidian look – everyday shots of lounging around in bed, hanging with pets or grabbing a morning coffee; far from coiffed poses or club shots, a bottle of Cristal in each hand.

Using the hashtag #OnTinderAtTinder, Tinder daters, both men and women, posted their IRL vs Tinder pictures…

…Those joining in with the #OnTinderAtTinder hashtag expanded the theme to something similar to the “nailed it” meme, in which individuals mock their attempts at life hacks and cooking and fitness goals, posting pictures of their own subpar attempts.

Swipe South: Tinder in India


Excerpt from this article on OgilvyDO by Ogilvy’s

“We are truly excited about the rapid adoption of Tinder in India. […] Women particularly seem to love Tinder, sending more ‘super likes’ than men each week, which is incredibly empowering,” says Taru Kapoor, the India head of Tinder. What about the Indian man? Bachelors might argue that Tinder is the best invention since Maggi (before it was embroiled in the lead content controversy)… Tinder has the potential to get wildly popular. Now, if they tie it up with a horoscope feature, those gnawing aunties might just warm up to the app!


An Artist Is Putting Tinder and LinkedIn Profile Pics Side-By-Side

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If you would take your profile pics from your LinkedIn and Tinder accounts and put them next to each other, how would they differ? That is the central question of Belgian artist Dries Depoorter’s new project, Tinder In. Using his own Tinder profile, he collected pictures of random women within his radius, and used their names to subsequently look up their LinkedIn profile pictures. Depoorter is planning to exhibit the series in a gallery in Paris soon in the form of ten double portraits: the professional and somewhat stiff headshots of LinkedIn on the left, and the intimate, often scantily-clad Tinder shots on the right.

At first glance, the project seems a bit like public shaming: look at these women struggling with themselves, their images, their sexuality. There is a sense of discomfort to see these pictures side by side, firstly for the women in the photos (why is the project limited to just women?), but secondly, also for yourself. Everyone is ‘guilty’ of these split online personalities simply because every online platform demands something entirely different from yourself. A business network site and an online hookup app will understandably lead to the biggest contrast.

Has Tinder Really Sparked a Dating Apocalypse?

Woman text messaging on cell phone

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Tinder super-users are an important slice of the population to study, yes, but they can’t be used as a stand-in for “millennials” or “society” or any other such broad categories. Where are the 20-somethings in committed relationships in Sales’ [Tinder-related Vanity Fair] article? Where are the awkward, lonely young men who feel like they can’t find anyone to have sex with, let alone date them? Where are the women who stay off Tinder because they don’t like the meat-market feel of it? Where are the men and women who find lifetime partners from these apps? (Just off the top of my head, I can think of one guy I know who met his husband on Grindr and a woman who met her fiancé on Tinder, as well as countless long-term relationships that started on OKCupid.) Where are the many, many millennials who get married in their early or mid-20s? Reading Sales’ article, you’d think Tinder had wiped out all these millennials like, well, that aforementioned asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. But there are still millions of young people muddling through relatively “traditional” experiences of dating (and romantic deprivation).

Taking a moral-panic approach to something like mobile online dating makes for a good story, but it also drowns out the opportunity for a richer conversation, and hardens certain false notions about millennial culture. Online dating clearly is changing how many people meet other people and date and have sex. But it’s probably changing their behavior in all sorts of different, sometimes conflicting ways. In some cases, it’s probably helping people find husbands and wives sooner, leading them to have fewer sex partners. In others, it probably does lead to some decision paralysis and frustration with dating. In many cases, it probably just reinforces the user’s preexisting preferences — pro- or anti-promiscuity, pro– or anti–finding someone to settle down with.

The Tinder effect: psychology of dating in the technosexual era

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… More importantly, and in stark contrast with the overwhelmingly negative media reception, Tinder has managed to overcome the two big hurdles to online dating. First, Tinder is cool, at least to its users.

Indeed, whereas it is still somewhat embarrassing to confess to using EHarmony or, Tinderers are proud to demo the app at a dinner party, perhaps because the alternative – logging off and talking to others guests – is less appealing.

Second, through eliminating time lags and distance, Tinder bridges the gap between digital and physical dating, enabling users to experience instant gratification and making Tinder almost as addictive as Facebook (the average user is on it 11-minutes per day).

But the bigger lessons from the Tinder effect are psychological. Let me offer a few here:

  • Hook-up apps are more arousing than actual hook-ups…
  • Digital eligibility exceeds physical eligibility…
  • Tinder does emulate the real dating world…
  • Romanticism is dead, except in retail

This Guy’s Tinder Tantrum Is So Outrageous It’s Hysterical

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It is constantly amazing to me exactly how entitled certain men feel to women’s time and attention. And to sex. Let’s not forget all the guys who feel entitled to sex. In this particular exchange, we see a guy make a seemingly unprovoked sexual comment (I mean, there could have been some build up we don’t get screenshots of, but it really seems to come out of nowhere). This in and of itself is not unusual or surprising, nor is the fact that the girl messages asking him to stop contacting her. So far we are par for the digital dating course.

But whereas most guys might send one or two confused or upset follow up messages before moving on like the grownups they theoretically ought to be, this guy commits to his outrage like nobody but an egotist or a 2-year-old really can. The resulting temper tantrum is so intense it’s downright comical. Like, I recognize all of the truly harmful, misogynist, and entitled attitudes towards women that are at play in this rant, but the overall effect is just so outrageous it’s funny.