“You swipe right if you like them and left if you don’t” has become a common trope in pop culture explaining how to use dating apps like Tinder. According to a 2013 Princeton Survey Research Associates International survey, 11 percent of Americans have used an online dating site and seven percent used a mobile app. Online dating has gained popularity since its inception with Match.com in 1995. Today, with over 7,500 of these websites available around the globe, the idea of online dating transcends its obscure origins and moves to the forefront of society. That isn’t for the best, however. This adds a level of artificiality to the dating process and induces a reliance on technology which can be downright dangerous.
One of the hallmarks of a good relationship is the connections people form. This could mean how they meet, the chemistry between them and the circumstances that pushed them together. Using online dating strips this away, it adds an algorithm to a natural process. Instead of people finding the truly right person, they are methodically “introduced” to people who a machine determines they will be compatible with. It takes away the genuine nature of creating connections. This is only fueled when sites interested in their bottom line, dupe users to keep them coming back with promising deals and luring profiles. People are seeing who a business person wants them to see, instead of a potential partner. Using dating apps skips the scenic route on life’s best joyride. But even with the ease they offer, users aren’t finding their matches any faster.
People spend too much time on their phones. Society suffers from not only detachment from others, but also health risks from technology addiction. The counterbalance to this is the few areas where technology is deemed unacceptable — take dates for example. How can someone show they value others’ time and attention when they spend it staring at their phone? Adding technology to the dating atmosphere not only penetrates this organic pastime but implies a more relaxed attitude toward using technology on the date. Using dating apps causes even more time to be spent on the phone. Swiping through matches and checking messages adds another welcome distraction to the growing list. In addition, when the time for the date actually comes, there can even be the implied feeling that technology is welcome at the table as well, since it brought those people together. But, it is also tearing people apart.
Even through all of these downsides, in the time since the inception of these services, they have gained acceptance in the public eye. Today, many people view them in a positive light, without considering all of the drawbacks they offer. Some things can’t be improved on with technology, and finding a life partner remains one of them.