The iPhone application “game” Tinder, bluntly put, is a socially acceptable flirting crutch to meet other people across the 5Cs, in the Claremont area, and within a desired mile radius. In order to become a “player,” users form Tinder accounts through their Facebook profiles by selecting the gender with which they would like to be “matched” and setting a radius of up to 100 miles to confine the area they interact with. In addition, players insert up to four pictures for their counterparts to skim through, and the Facebook setting is advantageous in that it shows how many mutual friends Tinder users have in common. Then the game begins as profile pictures of other Tinder players pop up on the application. By mindlessly swiping the photo left (“not”) or right (“hot”), Tinder users are being trained to mindlessly rate people based solely on appearance. If the “hot” is reciprocated by both users, the two are notified and put in direct contact via Tinder’s instant messaging. The idea of Tinder being portrayed as a game makes this online, virtual flirting network less harsh than it actually is.
The 2010 film The Social Network portrays the real-life event of computer genius Mark Zuckerburg as he creates a website to rate Harvard female students. Clearly, the females are not enthused as their pictures are illegally taken, and they are publicly objectified across Harvard to the audience of men. Ironically, Tinder, similar to Zuckerburg’s website of objectification, is a huge success. This could potentially be because Tinder users willingly post pictures of themselves, the objectification of men and women is mutual, and there is only positive feedback as people only know when they are “hotted,” which results in flattery. Of course we want to engage in conversation with people who find us attractive!
Although I held negative presumptions about Tinder, I downloaded the application. Two weeks later, I created a Tinder account, which lasted for a day. Initially, I was extremely hesitant to engage in conversation with strangers and put my own picture out there. But as soon as I got over that bump, I started “hotting” and “notting” until there was no one else in my ten-mile radius to rate. Within the first two hours of using Tinder, I was hooked–constantly checking on my account and waiting for feedback from male Tinder users. At the end of the day, I reluctantly quit the Tinder app before becoming too addicted.
Constantly staring at my phone screen and making rash decisions as to whom I wanted to know better shifted my mentality to the point where “hotting” and “notting” a person became second nature. Tinder is a poison, shifting outlooks, encouraging us to objectify ourselves, stripping us of valid social skills on a large campus, and confining our minds to one of two decisions—“hot” or not.”