Four years ago, the phrases “swipe right” and “swipe left” typically meant nothing. Now, they seem to be part of millennials’ common vernacular, as the rise of online dating apps have become prevalent.
Before dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, most online dating services were occupied by those people who were typically older than 30 years old. However, according to a 2015 report from the Pew Research Center, the number of 18 to 24 year olds who use dating apps has nearly tripled since 2013. The same study reported that approximately 22 percent of people in 2015 used dating apps, whereas in 2013, only 5 percent reported using them.
Additionally, the survey found that more people were accepting of online dating apps in 2015 than they were in 2013. Eighty percent of Americans think online apps such as OkCupid or Tinder are acceptable ways to meet people, with reasons given that they’re easier and help people better find matches.
According to a survey in which 100 college students in the Erie and Edinboro area participated, 33 percent reported they use online dating apps, 27 percent reported they do not and 40 percent said they had in the past, but do not anymore.
Out of those who reported they do, a majority (65 percent) said they use Tinder.
In the same survey, 35 percent of people said they use dating apps for finding a relationship, 7 percent said they use them to find friendship, 9 percent said they use them for hookups, and 49 percent said they use them just to browse. Forty-one percent responded that they open dating apps on their phones once a week, 20 percent responded they open them twice a week, and 38 percent responded they open them three or more times a week.
One source who wished to remain anonymous said that she uses dating apps because it’s much easier for her to talk behind a screen than go up to someone face to face. She also said that when she looks at someone’s profile, she tries to gauge how serious or not serious someone takes their bios. She mentioned that she will meet someone in person if they are a mutual friend or after Facetiming or Skyping with them.
Another anonymous source agreed that the biography is the most important part of a profile. “I almost always read their bios. If they seem to have good qualities and similar interests to my own, I’ll swipe right. I also need to be attracted to them,” she said.
She said she uses dating apps because, “I feel like dating apps are such an impersonal way to meet people, but our society is so technologically obsessed that it seems to be the only way to meet people anymore.”
She would be willing to drive up to an hour to meet someone, if the conversation is going well. But if she “doesn’t see it truly turning into anything special, I won’t travel far.”
In the survey, 52 percent of people said that they have gone on a date with someone they met on a dating app. In addition, 14 percent of people reported they met their current significant other through a dating app, while 24 percent reported they did not.
A third anonymous source reported that she uses dating apps because “it’s difficult to find ladies who want to date other ladies.” When asked what factors she takes into consideration before she swipes right or left on a person, she considers “their place in life, their goals and their desires for a partner.”
She doesn’t use the app very seriously, but only when she knows that she’ll have some free time to go on a date.
“The LGBTQ+ community has such a limited range of dating apps, it can be difficult to find people through them,” she said.
An anonymous male freshman said that he uses dating apps because it’s hard to connect with people unless they’re also a freshman, so dating apps make it easier to see who else is out there.
He continued: “I look for more personality traits that are compatible to mine. You can find someone you’re attracted to physically, but they could be dumb as a post, so I look at their interests first.”
All four sources reported that in addition to the apps, they try to find potential significant others in person.
“Our generation likes to keep the world at our fingertips, and online dating apps make it easier to find people,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and start to flirt, it seems odd to me. Yet again, online, you can have a sort of façade to yourself.”