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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Tinder sweeps through UC Davis

Editor’s note: Quoted students are only mentioned by their first names to respect their privacy.

Looking for a simple way to meet your next match? There’s an app for that.

Compared to other popular dating sites such as OkCupid, which has approximately 5.6 million active users, Tinder still remains the fastest-growing free dating app in the United States, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Although Tinder will not leak its precise number of user downloads, CEO and co-founder Sean Rad stated that out of 5.8 billion user ratings, 58 million matches have been made.

Any iPhone or Android user can download the app, and since its September 2012 debut, Tinder has attracted hundreds of UC Davis students.
It is fairly simple to navigate. Users sign in through a Facebook account, set their age, location and gender preferences, and based on the suggestions that Tinder generates, they can begin to swipe through an endless stream of profiles.

They can either “pass” or “like” those suggestions, and if two people end up “liking” each other, it is considered a match. At that point, the users are free to chat with one another.

After hearing about Tinder through a friend, Jordan, a second-year biological sciences major, decided to download the application.

“It’s not like Match.com where someone can talk to you without you being interested in them,” Jordan said. “You can only talk to a person if they liked you back.”

Due to the relatively straightforward nature of Tinder, some users have found it helpful in finding serious relationships.

“It’s easy to find relationships in high school, but to have a connection in college is a lot harder,” Jordan said.

Jordan is currently dating a student from Sacramento State who she met on Tinder.

“We talked for a while and that’s when I gave him my number,” Jordan said. “We met at Black Bear Diner and saw a movie after. It’s been two dates and it’s going fairly well.”

For other users, Tinder is just a fun way to meet new people without expecting any long-term relationships to develop.

“I mean I’m never actually going to meet [up with] someone,” said Jazmin, a second-year student majoring in animal science. “If I sort of already knew them, I might actually meet [up with] them, [but] I wouldn’t talk to some random person I didn’t have any mutual friends with.”

Jazmin first stumbled upon Tinder through a friend’s Facebook post. While she does not foresee any kind of serious relationship by means of Tinder, she enjoys having conversations with people that share common interests with her.

“I did a lot of traveling last summer and I went on Tinder in North Carolina, you can totally tell that people are different,” Jazmin said. “I thought it would be kind of cool to look at the people and see the differences.”

Although it is difficult to measure the total number of UC Davis student users, Jazmin estimated that there are anywhere from 500 to 1,000 on Tinder.

Neither gender seems to dominate Tinder. While Jordan believes there are more male student users, some users like Sarah, a second-year student majoring in managerial economics, thinks that there is a bigger percentage of student users that identify as female.

Sarah created a Tinder profile after her sorority sister recommended the application to her.

Despite the fact that Tinder is often labeled a ‘hookup’ app, Sarah actually knows of a long-term relationship that resulted from Tinder. One of Sarah’s sorority sisters is currently dating someone she found on the app.

Sarah started using Tinder about three weeks ago, and she has recently met up for coffee with someone she met through the application.

“I first thought of it as a compliment and an ego boost,” Sarah said.

Other users share a similar sentiment in regards to their experience with Tinder.

“When someone likes you back, it makes you feel kind of good about yourself,” Jazmin said.

While the Tinder users agreed on the overall advantages of the app, there was also a general consensus on some of the more negative aspects.
“Everyone makes fun of it as like a stupid app. I mean it attracts the wrong kind of people,” Jazmin said. “People that are just kind of creepy I guess.”

Even though Tinder users are able to block specific profiles, there is always the chance that a troublesome situation may arise.

“A lot of guys are on there to find a girl, have sex, and that’s it,” Jordan said.

Similarly, Sarah agreed that it’s hard to know who created a profile or who is out there on the internet.

“You have to be careful,” Sarah said.

In addition to the potential dangers when using Tinder, the application does not necessarily include a broad demographic in regards to sexuality.

“Tinder is definitely better in the straight population than the gay population,” an anonymous fourth-year neurobiology, physiology and behavior student said.

Because of the limited, heteronormative choices when creating a profile, heterosexuality is established as the general option for its users.
Despite these particular downsides of Tinder, these users would ultimately recommend the application to friends and people they know.

“You can take it as far as you want,” Sarah said.

LUJAIN AL-SALEH can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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