Sensibility vs. the Tinderization of Dating



I’m back. After almost three years of posting nothing at all, here I am. Ready to put thoughts to the metaphorical paper in hopes of people reading them. It’s been a long time coming, but this is an issue I can no longer stay silent on.

Tinderization (noun) – The act of destroying online dating by shoehorning Tinder-like functionality into unrelated dating apps.

I’ll say that it looks like I’m not the first person to use the word “tinderization,” but a cursory Google search shows others who have independently coined the term use it with different intent. As such, I’ll be sticking with the term, under my definition. Suffice it to say it’s a loaded definition – after all, I did say it’s destroying online dating. Quite clearly, this is a topic I’ve some strong opinions on. I’ve presented my thesis, and I don’t think I managed to stutter: Tinder ruined dating.

Tinder sucks. Here’s why.

Swipe left. Swipe right. Does nobody else think it’s positively absurd that dating has been reduced to these trite concepts? And then of course there’s “following rules 1 and 2.” For the uninitiated, those are “Be attractive,” and “don’t be unattractive,” respectively. Well, what about the rest of us? The rebels. Those who care not for rules. Those who are best summed up in multiple paragraphs, as opposed to a handful of Snapchat photos. Here’s the problem for us: In and of itself, it’s easy to ignore Tinder. It’s a raging dumpster fire. In and of itself, Tinder doesn’t matter. It’s a dumb app for dumb people. For masochists who enjoy being reduced to a set of photos, followed by a short bio that’s half emojis and half the names of the airports in the cities they’ve lived in. While on that note, what the hell kind of person considers that to be the most interesting thing about them? If you don’t have anything more interesting to say about yourself, you must really be a blank slate. About as bland as hospital food. Thanks for letting me know right off the bat that you’re probably worth avoiding. Seriously, what conversation starter were you fishing for? “How’s the airport in NYC?”

But it’s not just Tinder.

And this is the problem. Tinder isn’t just a raging dumpster fire. It’s cancerous, too. Look at OKCupid. I used to like the way they did things – A detailed profile, with all kinds of intricate questions about a person. And they still have that. Except now, you can’t message someone unless they’ve matched with you in their Tinder-like swipe-left, swipe-right drivel that they’ve added and since buried everything else underneath. I haven’t used it much, but as far as I can tell, Coffee Meets Bagel uses roughly the same system.

I’m not sure what it is. I’m only 25, I thought. Am I getting old? Do people not want depth in their relationships anymore? Granted, I’ve never been all that in touch with what the average person wants, because as far as I can tell, the answer is always “a steaming hot pile of garbage.” I think the question on my mind, and on the minds of however many sensible people are actually left on this planet, is…

Where do we go from here?

POF? I gave this one a try, and even shelled out for a few months of premium membership. Then I got confused by their instructions for unsubscribing and lost another $30 until I just deleted my account. From my time on there, all I’ve found out is that they should rename their site “Plenty of Bots.” The entire time I’ve had their (buggy, unpleasant) app installed, I would get notifications that someone “wants to meet me.” Inevitably, it would be a profile with short, one-word descriptions and a handful of photos. And of course, if you’d message this person, you’d promptly get a link to some shifty sex cam site. The whole thing is terrible, but props to them for not following the idiotic Tinder trend, at least? Try curating your site a little (or a lot, rather) better though.

Reddit? I actually met one of my exes on reddit, as well as someone I dated briefly but never entered a formal relationship with (TL;DR, she had a lot of problems and wasn’t over her ex, who she quickly went back to). Considering the dating subreddits are exclusively text-based, you’d think this would be exactly what I’m looking for. I’m familiar with exactly two of these – R4R (the big, global one), and, since I live near Atlanta, Atlanta R4R (which has mostly devolved into casual hookup posts, since the section of Craigslist previously devoted to this recently shut down). And considering I’ve had decent luck here before, you’d think this would be a no-brainer. After all, I spend almost all of my day on reddit anyway. But here’s the problem: reddit is a notorious sausage-fest. And it seems to be devolving into more and more of one. What’s the point of crafting a brilliantly thought-out post, if your target audience isn’t there to read it? I suppose I’ll continue to yell into the void that is R4R for now until I come up with a better solution.

Real life? This platform is confusing. It needs an instruction manual, which it seems to be sorely lacking. For instance, I can’t find the “dating” section. I only ever really browse three sections of this one: My apartment, my job, and wherever I happen to be eating. None of these seem to be conducive to meeting other people. I’m gonna just write this one off as “needs documentation.”

Why not make your own?

If all else fails, this is what I’m inclined toward doing. After all, I’m a developer! Any problem that can’t be solved with code doesn’t matter. So I can either find someone by writing code, or reach the conclusion that finding someone doesn’t matter… right? At this point, it’s really just a matter of deciding what I need to make. A website? An app? Both? And how can I make such a thing as “anti-Tinder” as possible? I have some thoughts on this, which I’m keeping to myself for now, in case I do decide to actually implement this, but I could really use some inspiration.

In closing, online dating right now sucks. And the suckiness is spreading. I think it’s time to nuke it all from orbit and start over. Thanks a lot, Tinder. You’ve ruined meaningful connections forever. And thanks a lot, other millennials, you’ve enabled this.

Online dating sucks because people suck. Rant over.

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