These days just about everything happens on the move. You can meet the love of your life on Tinder, check for new posts on Instagram, or play a game in the gaming club mobile casino – all while having a coffee in your favourite Coffee Bar. That’s ‘amore’ in action, 21st-century style.
Matchmaking on Tinder
Tinder’s dating app is driving new perspectives on modern matchmaking and simply bypasses much of the complexity of many other mobile dating platforms. Possible matches are ranked according to how far away people live and browsing users have a simple choice with every image they view: like or pass. Two browsers opting to ‘like’ each other triggers a Tinder ‘match’; only then can they go on to chat via the app.
To help make better choices, a user can read a brief bio and see certain Facebook pictures showing their would-be match. Ages are also revealed, and there may be links to Instagram and Spotify accounts as well as details of any Facebook connectivity, which may be common to both. Above all, this means you won’t have to talk to anyone you decide you don’t like.
With 57 million international users in 190 countries speaking 40 different languages, Tinder is a major player in the dating world. It has created 20 billion matches since its launch in 2012, and hopeful Tinder users go on an estimated one million dates every week. Though no one can be precise, it seems likely that most of these users fall into the 18-24 age group. Yet Tinder hasn’t altered everything: an average message typed by a man to a woman is 12 characters long, while messages the other way around average 122!
Tinder’s prime features are its left/right swipe option to choose or reject possible matches, the opportunity to access the Instagram profiles of those on Tinder, and the chance to find out about any common Facebook connections. Those who subscribe to Tinder Gold (the premium version) also get to see who has already liked them before they swipe.
So what now?
Once you have a match you’re keen to pursue, it’s not always a matter of simply exchanging phone numbers and making those preliminary calls. Yes, that happens from time to time, but access to Instagram profiles has introduced a new dynamic. This platform often has a broader role to play as a supplementary matchmaking tool. For instance, access to Instagram stories means that viewers can gain some useful clues and background information about a person they have liked without having to make direct contact or asking a series of probing questions.
Your Instagram stories tell viewers about events in your daily life, but the data this generates can also give you some basic clues about who sees your posts, and thus how your potential relationship with a certain person may be developing. It gives you the option of (selectively) posting more targeted visual material, in the hope this might generate a message response from someone you like. One difficulty of this ‘online footsy’ between interested matches is that things in the online visual world may not always be what they seem.
Faking it on Instagram
While it’s not the only platform where this happens, Instagram is one place where the difference between real and fake can be very hard to spot. While everyone can agree that the obsession with perfect lifestyles and a perfect body image is a sad reflection of where we are on social media, there’s a difference between showing images of your ‘best’ side and virtually criminal deception.
Chessie King is one popular Instagram blogger who uses her Instagram profile to show just how easy it is for people to manipulate reality. To get the point across, she has posted a series of photos showing her in ‘normal’ shots with obvious unflattering body positions and awkward camera angles. Alongside these, she has skilfully created alternative ‘fake’ versions in the same settings, using typical modelling tricks to flatten stomachs and make legs seem longer and waists seem narrower. The result is not only an eye-opener on modern perceptions of beauty, it’s also a warning for anyone about to sample online dating.