10 Things You Should Know About How Tinder Works
Assuming you’ve been living on this earth in the past five years and have not been residing under a rock, you’ve heard of Tinder. If you’re single and have access to a smart phone you have either used it, have secretly used it and won’t admit it, or know someone who has used it.
But for those of you have never heard of it, here’s the low down: Tinder is an app for smart phones that has revolutionized online dating. Tinder takes out the formulaic questions, long profiles, and subscription fees of classic online dating sites. Instead, it brings dating to its bare bones by asking two baseline questions: what do you look like, and are the first words you utter impressive/funny enough for someone to talk to you?
That’s it. Users swipe through an photo album style collection of profiles, each equipped with 1-4 photos of each person, and a pithy description section where a person can write whatever they think will catch someone’s eye. For every person you like or want to talk to, you swipe right. Anyone who’s not your cup of tea, you swipe left. If you and the person you like both swiped right, you match, and a message window opens up, allowing you to speak with each other.
It seems like a simple, efficient way to date. But like anything else when it comes to dating, the reality of Tinder is much more complex. For anyone trying to navigate this new world of new age app dating, here are 10 things you should know about how Tinder works:
10Making a Profile
You’re probably thinking, what could be so difficult about making a profile? Well, it’s a subtle art. Think of it as a speed job interview. You have a small window of time to convince the person opposite of you that you’re exactly what it is they are looking for.
Put as many pictures as the app lets you. The more access to pictures in different situations and angles you provide, the easier it is to get a sense of what you look like. You want to pick pictures that tell people something more about yourself. Pictures of hiking, traveling, yoga, or playing music are always great examples.
Remember this is a first impression. While that Halloween photo of you in a banana suit was hilarious for your friends, if that is the only picture you provide, it doesn’t help anyone. Pick a picture that is flattering physically, but true to your actual appearance. Also, if you are going to put a picture with someone else, don’t pick a picture where you look like you could be dating. This happens often, and it’s really confusing. At least if you do, try and put a funny explanation in your description. Likewise, if you are going to take a picture with a child that is not your own, you should really specify that fact.
As for your description, be concise and honest. Name things you enjoy doing, and don’t try to be too intellectual or poetic, it’ll come off as disingenuous in such a small space. If you can pull off humor, even better. But just make sure your joke is actually funny.
9The Initial Algorithm Can Be Misleading
The science of Tinder is a well-kept secret. But other apps are starting to figure out how Tinder creates its algorithms. As you continue swiping through profiles, the algorithm begins to build an “attractiveness score” for you. The more right swipes you get, and the more of these that are from people with a high frequency of right swipes, the better your score. The photos are then sourced taking into account this likability rating.
One thing that has come to light is the fact that the algorithm is cleverly tricking you in the beginning. When you first join the app, people with higher attractiveness scores are brought to the top of your selection first, so as to give the impression that there is a huge amount of attractive people in your area.
Tinder also has a feature called “Smart Photos,” which when enabled, picks out the most attractive photo of the ones you have chosen and puts it on the top of the deck. This is one by calculating how people have responded to your photos in the past. It can be even further enhanced if you connect your Facebook to the app. Not to worry, it does not post anything on your behalf. It just has access to your profile picture and email.
Of course, this is a numbers game. It doesn’t count for what people find subjectively attractive. Your likeability rating is not ever revealed to you or anyone else, and when it comes to dating, there are certain factors no algorithm could predict.
8 The Art of Getting Matched
Now that you’ve created the perfect profile and you know how the app sorts everyone, it’s your turn to get matched. There are two main ways to ensure a match.
Firstly, there is the quantity approach. Some people suggest swiping right on as many people as you can you find. Statistically, it’s not a bad idea and although there is a limit to how many people you can swipe right on, it resets every 12 hours. You’re more likely to get a match when you accept as many people as possible. This will also lead to a larger pool of people to choose to talk to. Of course, the problem with taking this approach is the sheer amount of people you get matched with doesn’t allow you to spend as much time on each conversation, and can even lead to you missing people that may get lost in all of the matches you’ve acquired. However, if you’re not particular, or just want an ego boost, this is the most effective strategy.
Secondly, there is the quality approach. The quality approach is the opposite approach. Here, rather than swiping right on every single person, you can take more time to search each profile. Go through each picture, read the description, try and find common factors between you and each person. Choose people you think you would actually go on a date with. Here, the match frequency will decrease significantly. However, the people you do match with, you’ll probably be more invested in. This in turn could lead to better conversations, and higher long-term success.
7 You’ve Matched! …Now What?
The only thing harder than matching with someone on Tinder is managing to keep up a conversation. Let alone get a date.
The best way to start is always at the description. People who include interesting things in their profiles are not only more likely to get matches; they’re also more likely to have fruitful conversations. Likewise, if both you and the person you matched with have pictures or versatile descriptions of yourselves, you’ve already got a couple of things to begin bonding over.
If you don’t know much about the person, or their description isn’t helpful, try asking random questions. Bring up a current event. Most people respond well to being asked about their opinions or recent experiences. Some people have good luck sending hilariously drawn out puns or stories. Bad jokes can have their charm over text message, depending on whom you ask.
Worse comes to worse, send a meme. You might not get an answer, but if it’s funny enough, maybe the person will answer. The point is, there isn’t an exact formula. The best advice is to be authentic and don’t be too serious. So long as you act as you would around people you already know, you’re likely to find someone you can talk to very easily. And if the conversation starts to drag, keep in mind that not everyone is naturally good at texting. Ask the person if they’d like to continue the conversation in person.
6Not Everybody on Tinder Is Looking for the Same Thing
Tinder is in the midst of a branding war. There are those that insist that Tinder is merely a “hook up app”, an online device designed to take away the awkwardness and uncertainty of picking someone up at a bar, without the added pressure of moving towards a relationship. Some have even linked to the end of dating itself. And let’s be honest, for those of us who have had conversations begin with “wanna hook up?” texts from strangers, it’s not easy to see how people have come to be so cynical.
However there are many that push back against this idea, arguing that Tinder can be a place for building meaningful relationships, allowing people who would have never otherwise met an opportunity to get to know one another. In fact, there are a number of people who have had successful relationships and have even gone on to marry people they have met on Tinder.
The truth is, the app only provides a forum for selection and messaging. There are no preference lists indicating whether people are looking for something long or short term. What the app becomes is a question of the people it attracts and what they want out of it. Tinder is a hook up app no more than certain bars are hook up bars. What you get out of it entirely depends on who is there using it. Barring those concerned with preserving dating culture, for most, this doesn’t pose much of a problem so long as people are upfront about what they want in the beginning.
5The Super Like Button
In later years, Tinder introduced the “Super Like” button, a button allowing users to display their eagerness for talking to the other person beyond the usual “Like” feature. Free Tinder users get one super like a day, so they are encouraged to use it wisely. There is debate about the usefulness of the button. People are split as to whether the button serves a practical use beyond stroking the ego of the person you’re swiping on, or coming off as a bit creepier than normal.
Proponents argue that it’s flattering that someone has gone out of his or her way to like you. Given the amount of potential matches, it may not benefit people to act as aloof as they would in real life. The super like button allows you a way to show your seriousness about the person whose profile you have come across. Additionally, for many who are not generally initial pursuers, the super like button offers a way of acting forward without forcing people too outside of their comfort zone.
Others however, say that while you’re perfectly free to use the super like button, but it probably won’t give you the reception you’re hoping for. The use of the super like can come off as extremely eager, which can be off putting to people, especially to women. Additionally, the super like button can be no more than a reactionary tool to people with exceptionally attractive profiles.
4Always Trust Your Instincts
As a general rule, if someone feels weird to you online, they will only be worse in person. Now is not the time to be giving people the benefit of the doubt. For your own safety, be hyper vigilant about who you decide to meet with in real life.
If you match with someone who wants to meet with you and they suddenly change their picture to a picture of someone else, be on alert. If someone’s picture looks awfully like another profile you may have seen, don’t ignore that instinct. You can reverse Google image that profile and know if it’s fake within 30 seconds. If someone is pressuring you or making comments that make you feel uncomfortable, they will probably continue this behavior once you meet up.
But if you decide to meet with them, play it safe. Pick a location with lots of people for your meet up, and let people you trust know where you’ll be. Keep your phone charged, and have an exit strategy. There are even apps where your friends can track your location if you choose to share it with them. Even if it’s just a one-night thing, it doesn’t hurt to have someone know where you’ll be and when you expect to get home.
Likewise, if you seem to get along well with someone, don’t hesitate to pursue it. The great thing about Tinder is that there are almost 50 million people using the application. For every couple of strange people you’ll encounter, there are many more people you’ll get along great with, and may want to meet in person.
3The Unmatch Button
If you do end up in a conversation with someone and immediately regret it, there’s always a way out. And while talking to new people can be fun and exciting, like all good things, there is always someone who has to ruin it. This button is the control/command, + Z button we have all need in real life. If you have an uncomfortable turn of conversation with someone, accidently like someone, or just get tired of talking to them, the unmatch button was made for you. It’s as simple as it seems. You just unmatch them. Simply go to the three dots above your message with them, click unmatch, and bam! They are gone from your periphery and you can go on with your life pretending they never existed.
If you a feel a person has crossed the line and said something highly inappropriate, you also have the option to report them. This gives the app’s moderators the option of reviewing the conduct and deciding whether or not to suspend the other person’s account. This can especially be the case if they have been reported more than once.
However, for your own peace of mind, the unmatch button will do ostensibly the same thing. This person will no longer appear in your searches either. There are many reasons to unmatch someone on Tinder, but the most compelling reason is because you want to. You owe no obligation to anyone on this app, and so feel free to match and unmatch to your hearts’ content.
2Tinder is a Business
Interactive Corp is the company that owns Tinder. They are an American Internet and media company with 150 brands across the world. And they are not new to the online dating scene either. They own Match.com, Chemistry.com, OKCupid, PlentyofFish, and many other online dating platforms.
Tinder offers a free service for all new users, but has still managed to make money through the years. In 2015 Tinder decided to come out with a premium service. They started by limiting the amount of right swipes each person could use. There’s no fixed number, it varies based on each person’s activity, but it averages to around 100 per every 12 hours. Through their premium service (Tinder Plus), they offer users unlimited likes, in addition to swiping from different locations, and 5 super likes a day. It costs $9.99 a month for users under 30 and $19.99 for everyone else. Their most innovation, Tinder Gold, goes one step further than their premium service, and actually offers users the opportunity see people who have liked them, including those they originally rejected. This allows people to take a second look of people, but also get to see how many people liked them at a given time.
Tinder also offers people the option of connecting their accounts to other social media sites, no doubt the clever engineering of those running the company. This allowed the company to pull in a bigger user base into the app, while also giving people the option of adding depth to their profiles. For instance, allowing users to link to their Instagram or Facebook interests allows users to see if they have friends, music taste, literature, and many other things in common with people they are swiping on.
1Screenshotting: A Dangerous Game
If you remember nothing else from this list, please remember this: Though Tinder seems like a fun game, it can ruin your reputation. Given that it’s an app designed for meeting and becoming close to people, there is a tendency by some to share a little more than they usually would with a perfect stranger. And while opening up is solid advice for the traditional dating world, this isn’t regular dating. This isn’t even online dating. This is Tinder. Everything you say can (and probably will) be screenshotted, and widely disseminated to friends, family, and possibly even strangers this person meets at a party.
This may come off as cynical. Shouldn’t you and this person be building a mutual trust that may build into something more meaningful? Probably. But with the distance the app creates between you and the people you are engaging with, it’s easy to dissociate from the fact that these people exist outside of it.
There are entire websites and pages devoted to the most horrifying, hilarious, and unreal Tinder conversations. Someone went so far as to even compile them into a book. Tinder doesn’t notify you when someone screenshots your conversation. Your most intimate exchanges may be across the world long before you realize what has happened.
And while this may come off as cruel, try the app and see how long you can last before you end up in a conversation you have to save for later. Do yourself a favor. Save anything you wouldn’t want to go viral until you at least get a coffee date.
Whether or not you decide to use Tinder, the most important thing to keep in mind is to relax. It’s understandable that Tinder can get a bit frustrating, especially for people who have been using it for a while and haven’t found what they are looking for. Remember that in the end, dating is supposed to be fun.
The app can be a great ego boost, and can be a fun way to get to know different people you may have not had the opportunity to get to know. It’s also a great way to meet people in a new city you’ve moved to. In the end, it’s not much different than going to a bar or event to meet people, except now you can hear each other and it’s not as weird walking out suddenly.
And like dating in person, the more you share, the easier it becomes to match you with someone. The app is designed to take into account your interests and preferences over time to match you with someone that you’d like. It can be a little overwhelming at first because of all the people on the app, but that’s also what makes it so fun. It’s a compact, entertaining, and flattering game to play, but can also lead to some extremely fulfilling interactions.
Whether you’re looking for a long term relationship, one night fling, or anything in between, rest assured that these tips will help you navigate the vast arena that is the new age of online dating.