from the hot-stuff dept.
Alan Feuer writes in the New York Times that it has been three years since Tinder landed in New York City bringing its addictive right swipes and rabid style of flirting to the city’s inherently frenetic technologized dating culture turning the search for love (or at least a nearby body) into a Ritalin-paced video game. For those who are unfamiliar with it, Tinder is a matchmaking service that enables people to connect with one another through no more than a brief swipe on their smartphones. You look at a photo, tagged only with a name, an age and, with a tap, perhaps a short introduction, and then you vote yes by swiping to the right, or no by swiping left. With about one million Tinder users in New York, the largest market in the country, the app plays off our desire for instant gratification while avoiding the embarrassment of rejection, in what the company calls the “double opt-in”: a match between two users will occur only if they each signal that they like the other’s profile. The matched pair can then chat through Tinder’s messaging service and, perhaps, meet. “When you have a population of young, relatively affluent transients, schooled in technology, uprooted from their networks and hoping to find each other, the chances are they’ll look for a solution on their phones,” says Benjamin Karney.
Social scientists say apps like Tinder are incredibly effective at identifying a local population of potential mates and at helping people contact one another (through instant-message systems), particularly in large, anonymous places like New York, where traditional modes of introduction — family connections or religious institutions — might not be available. Of course, having too many options online can make it more difficult for some to choose and commit to just one person to go out with on a Friday night says Paul Eastwick, "It's called the 'paradox of choice,' " There’s tons of research that suggests "if people know they have lots of options, they feel less dependent on and committed to their current option,” says Karney. “If you want to leave your lover, there aren’t just 50 ways these days, there are 150,000 ways.”