Location-based dating apps are the new norm. They allow for fast forming friendships, long lasting relationships, or even better for some, quick and easy hook-ups. Tinder, Badoo, Hot-or-Not and Hinge – the latest app to hit the scene – form a mere fraction of what urban millennials have been downloading.
Mobile technology seems to have revolutionised dating processes of the twenty-first century. Smart phone users are easily able to download dating mobile applications that allow them to connect with other people within their own geographical proximity. Most of these applications focus on being photo-based, encouraging interaction largely founded on looks and subsequently offering opportunities for spontaneous meet-ups.
Grindr, Tinder, Badoo and Hinge have gained a large following for making meeting people online fun, easy and well, to the point. While Tinder focuses you on meeting complete strangers, Hinge offers the, what was once a traditional way of meeting new people – through mutual friends.
Apps like Hinge makes meeting new people a lot less creepy said Tibby Iz, a 28 year old digital content strategist living in East Village New York, “I’ve met up with someone on Hinge because you have mutual friends, so you can be 80 percent sure they’re not a full-on wacko,”
What these applications have in common is that they allow their users to sign up via Facebook thus bypassing the painful task of having to fill out lengthy registration forms. As most third party applications do, they promise to not divulge any dating activity onto your Facebook wall or news feed.
However, because Tinder allows for anonymous interaction, the only people that would be able to talk to you are those that you have been matched up with and this formula has been so beautifully crafted by Tinder Inc. whereby you rate people based on their profile picture(s). If you like what you see, you swipe right and if not, you swipe left and you are matched up when (and if) the other person swipes right for you too
However, the concept of location-based apps and hook-up culture has unsurprisingly had mixed reviews. Jenny Davis, a qualified socialist and blogger for Cyborgology says that the hook-up culture applications such as these have generated has the ability to delve into some shady territory.
“The intersection of hook-up culture and location-based technologies set the stage for some tangibly unsafe interactions, in light of deeply problematic cultural meanings and assumptions surrounding sexual availability in light of deeply problematic cultural meanings and assumptions surrounding sexual availability. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that hook-up culture is fine, but it ceases to be so in the context of rape culture.” Davis goes on to elaborate on her meaning of rape culture, “Rape culture refers to a culture in which expressions of sexual desire are misread as sexual availability.”
On the flipside, however, popular magazine websites are in actual fact encouraging women (and men) to give dating apps a try. In an article titled “7 Dating Apps That Will Show Off Your Sexiest Trait: Confidence!” readers are given advice as to how to exude confidence through the screen of your mobile phone. “How do you brave the digital fray without losing your most attractive feature? Approach online dating with a plan — and choose the platform that lets you shine.” Their top six are HowAboutWe, Twine Canvas, Tinder (of course), Grouper, Revealr and Hinge.
Online dating giants like Match.com have noticeable taken cues from popular dating applications like some of the above mentioned. Techcrunch magazine wrote about how Match.com has completely redesigned its mobile interface to look a lot like Tinder. Techcrunch writer Jordan Crook says that criteria based searches in mobile apps doesn’t do to well. Instead Match 3.0 for iiOS has made matchmaking into a more enjoyable experience.
The new app opens up onto a page titled Discover which is itself divided into a Stream section and a Mixer section. Stream allows you to scroll down through an endless list of users who may be interested in you. Users who show in your Stream feed are most likely to have similar interests as you based on information provided by you and previously calculated algorithms. Mixer on the other hand, offers an experience much like Tinder, allowing you to swipe through any users you may or may not find desirable.
Not only has Tinder encouraged other online dating companies to alter their look, but it has also sparked the interest of many social media app developers who have in turn created spin-offs with the latest one being 3nder. So while Tinder seeks to connect singles with other singles, 3nder’s main purpose is to help couples meet singles for a little ménage à trois!
The mission at 3nder is to “make society more open about sexual desires” and that it is about time we all “evolved our social acceptance” about these sexual desires. They also claim that by using their app, threesomes will be made easier, safe, simple and awesome. The developers at 3nder also encourage safe and anonymous web browsing so that friends and family wouldn’t be able to “see” you.
As far as hook-up sites go, this concept is still very new. Online dating always had a stigma associated with it; a stigma whereby people would not feel all the way comfortable with saying they met their SO online but the casual nature of these new apps has made that previously associated stigma obsolete. As social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are now considered as the minimum online presence one ought to have, being attached to hook-up sites as simple and as easy as Tinder makes meeting someone on it almost inevitable.
The Hot-or-Not app, Tinder, WeChat as well as other location-based hook-up apps have been made available on almost every type of smartphone and all of them are free. If stress-free, easy and simple are three factors you look for when it comes to dating somebody new then apps like these are definitely the right for you!