Dating Apps for Dummies

Nothing terrifies me more at this point in my life than being single. Some thoughts that may be going through your head right now:

1. “Pathetic.”
2. “She can get over herself- I’m single and it’s perfectly fine.”
3. “This is the classic case of a girl who has no self worth without a boyfriend.”

My initial statement warrants these types of responses… yes. However, I fear being single for one reason, and one reason alone: dating apps.

Searching for a significant other has never been easy, but being single in the 21st century is a time and cellular data commitment. On top of your time and data, being single requires you to understand the intricacies and distinct culture of a multitude of dating apps. It’s 2016 and gone are the days of the “go-to” app. We are a society of ample choices. While plenty of people still meet their significant others out at a bar or through a friend, most Millennials I know have a dating app or two to compliment in-person interactions. For those of you who are not as well-versed in the dating app world, here is a ‘dating app for dummies’ guide to help you figure out which app is right for you.

1. Tinder: Swipe right if you like

On Tinder, you will see a user’s profile which includes pictures, age, location, and a brief bio- should the user choose to put one. Profiles are typically linked to the user’s Facebook page. The app uses your current location so that the profiles you view are users within a 50-mile radius. If you like what you see, you swipe their profile right on the screen. Swipe left if you are not interested.

Should two users swipe each other’s profiles right, they are a match. Once you have matched with someone, both people have the ability to initiate a conversation by sending a message through the app. After messaging with your matches, the idea is that one (or a couple) will strike your interest to hopefully lead to something more.

2. Hinge: Friends of friends only

Hinge is conceptually similar to Tinder in that it is based off of your Facebook profile, pulls other profiles for you to view by location, and allows both users to message one another if they match. In the same vein as Tinder, if two users “swipe right,” to one another, that is how they become a match.

There are 2 main differences between Tinder and Hinge. Hinge only pulls up profiles of people who are friends with your Facebook friends. This allows users to check with mutual friends to get the “real scoop” on who they matched with. The other key difference is that you have a batch of profiles each day, so you may not unlimitedly swipe. This gives you the impetus to actually pay attention to the profiles you are being presented with because once your batch is up- it’s over for the day!

3. Grindr: For Him

Straight people aren’t the only ones who get to have cyber dating fun.
Grindr is a location-based app that was originally created for gay men. The home screen has pictures of a variety of profiles men have made in your area. The user simply clicks on a picture to look at that person’s profile, which contains information such as what that person is interested in (relationship, hooking up, etc.), age, bio, and even HIV status. Users can favorite profiles, however you do not need to be “matched” to message one another. Grindr users also can hit a camera icon located on the task bar to send a photo directly to another user. Because of this, users may “block” other users who message them if they are not interested.

Grindr has a premium service called Grindr Xtra that allows the user to filter profiles by: whose online, height, weight, body type, ethnicity, or relationship status. These users also are given the ability to favorite and block an unlimited number of users, whereas free users have a limit.

4. Bumble: Where the B**** is the Boss

Bumble was created by Tinder Co-Founder Whitney Wolfe, so this app too has a few similarities to Tinder. Swiping right still means you “like” the profile you have just viewed. However, if you accidently swiped right when you meant to swipe left, all you have to do is shake your phone to undo it. Matching works in the same way- if two users swipe right to one another, they have matched.

The key difference between Bumble and other dating apps is the fact that on Bumble, women are the only ones who can initiate a conversation. Additionally, if 2 users match, the girl must start a conversation within 24 hours of matching, or the connection disappears. Men can swipe all day long, but do not have the ability to initiate a conversation. Once a girl has started a conversation, the two are able to communicate freely.

5. The League: You Can’t Sit With Us

The League is one of the newest apps on the dating scene, but it isn’t available to everyone. Users must be accepted to The League, making it the most exclusive dating app out there. Amanda Bradford, The League’s founder and CEO stated that she looks for applicants who “dare to be different. The app’s admission algorithm considers the diversity an applicant would add to the community. Workers in the tech industry are hugely overrepresented, as are graduates of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.”

Users can be accepted into the League through one of two ways: 1. Current members of The League have one ticket each they can give to a friend for automatic admittance into the app. 2. Without a ticket, users must sign up and are put on a waiting list. While on this waiting list, a mixture of algorithms and The League employees scan applicants’ social media channels and LinkedIn accounts- judging details such as what university the applicant attended along with the applicant’s job, hobbies, neighborhood, social influence and appearance.

As a 23-year-old living in New York City, the 5 apps outlined above are the ones I hear come up amongst my peers most often. While Millennials have shown an affinity to these 5, there are hundreds of other apps used by singles all over the country. Just like we have ‘types’ of people we are attracted to… we have types of apps we like better than others as well.

Stay tuned because now that we have looked at how these dating apps work, it’s time to talk about the stereotypes associated with the people who use them.

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