Modern dating is fraught with obstacles, this much we know. Layer a pandemic over it? Yeah, those obstacles are pretty much blown out of the water. Never mind ghosting, it became almost impossible to even meet your crush IRL this year. Social distancing became the “new normal”, and face masks a necessary accessory. But how else has dating changed in 2020? Tinder has revealed its data-driven annual review, their Year in Swipe report, detailing the hottest new dating spot, the most used emoji (which is very telling), as well an unexpected celebrity hero, too.
First things first: location. As pubs, restaurants, and cafes closed their doors intermittently over the last ten months, Tinder revealed that daters got inventive, taking their dates online. Top rendezvous location? No, not Zoom. It was, in fact, Animal Crossing. The popular video game broke records when it was released on March 20, and ranked second in overall sales in 2020. While it doesn’t seem like the most obvious place to meet The One, meeting virtually solves the problem of remaining two meters apart, and meant you could watch the sun go down with your latest match from the comfort of your own home.
The pandemic left Tinder users with a lot to talk about, too. Dolly Parton became an overnight sensation on the app when the Dolly Parton challenge swept social media. She was mentioned 26% more times over the summer than she was in January, leaving her the most mentioned celebrity. Dominic Cummings’ infamous trip to Barnard Castle was on the lips of daters, too. As were Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic, and (as always) David Attenborough.
To match the unprecedented year, Tinder users turned to the shrug emoji the most. (Says it all, really…) And a social conscience mattered, too. Mentions of BLM grew 55 times in 2020, and mentions of the NHS grew by 122% in May compared to the beginning of the year. Tinder reported that swipes and use of the app have gone up over the last year, and more people have tried virtual dating.
“Your digital life is as important as your social life in the physical world,” Tinder’s chief executive Elie Seidman told BBC earlier this year, outlining how the company has been working to make Tinder a place to hang out online, rather than just organise hook ups offline.