Cassidy Napolitano knew that when she started using the well-known dating app, Tinder, it would be an interesting experience, but in an age where the average person spends 162 minutes on their mobile device per day, according to a study done by Geek Wire, she had no idea true love may be as easy as swiping left or right.
“I was embarrassed to say I met my current boyfriend on Tinder,” said SF State communications major Napolitano.
Napolitano’s love story is just one of the thousands Tinder’s VP of Corporate Communications and Branding, Rosette Pambakian, said was prompted by the social app that was originally launched on college campuses in 2013.
“The purpose of Tinder,” Pambakian said in an email, “is social discovery.”
Napolitano said she originally downloaded Tinder as a joke.
“My roommates and I just got it to see what kind of responses we would get from boys,” she said. “I was skeptical to go out with Keoki Murphy (current boyfriend) because I don’t ever go out with people I don’t know.”
Napolitano said that what made her comfortable meeting with Murphy was that he would attend a lot of the same bars she frequented.
On Tinder, photos of real people in the same area as the user will show up on the app’s display screen. The user can then indicate level of interest by swiping right or left to rate whether or not there is any sort of attraction.
When two people indicate mutual interest for each other by swiping to the right, it’s a match. The two will then be prompted that they have been matched and unlimited messaging between one another can begin immediately.
“I’m sure we crossed paths before we matched on Tinder,” Napolitano said. “I just got lucky.”
Knowing the person she met on Tinder made Napolitano feel at ease using the app, but the same could not be said for marketing major Jennifer Chavez.
“The first time I downloaded Tinder was back in September during a trip to LA,” Chavez said. “I deleted the app because my worst fear came true. I matched with my ex.”
Chavez, 24, has since ventured into another dating app, Wyldfire.
“Wyldfire takes the creepiness out of Tinder,” Chavez said.
While anyone with an active Facebook account can log onto Tinder, Wyldfire requires an invitation from a female user to join.
Wyldfire conversations with matched profiles are limited to 20 exchanges per person to expedite meeting people in real life.
“(Wyldfire) is definitely not a casual dating app,” Chavez said. “I went on one date with someone I met on the app and things escalated very quickly.”
Chavez said she downloaded Wyldfire because she thought she was ready for a serious relationship but later decided she didn’t want something so serious after all.
“As of right now I prefer a relationship that develops organically versus the one that I found online,” Chavez said.
For business marketing major Alex Diaz, Tinder’s “fun and easy to use” platform is exactly what steered him away from gay dating app Grindr.
“Grindr is less of a dating app and more of a ‘let’s hook up and have sex’ app,” Diaz said.
According to Diaz, having a Grindr profile is often frowned upon in the gay community because of its sexual component.
“Users will send each other dick pics to start a conversation,” Diaz said. “I look down on people who use it.”
Marketing major Tyler Broadland echoed Diaz’s sentiments towards Grindr.
“I know 100 percent Grindr is purely physical,” said Broadland. “That’s not my main interest with using these things.”
Broadland said part of the reason why he thinks Tinder is so popular among students and millennials is because they like to have choices.
“I don’t think matching someone automatically means I’m interested,” he said. “Everyone uses it for their own reasons, that’s why I found it interesting.”
Although many students at SF state use Tinder for dating, the company does not define itself as a dating app.
“Tinder is used for a multitude of reasons – whether looking for friends, romance, or business connections, the app simply provides an introduction between two mutually interested users,” Pambakian said in an email. “Whatever results from that connection is up to each user.”
Hospitality major Jane Lively said she uses Tinder whenever she needs an “ego boost.”
“Tinder makes it easier for people to rebound,” said Lively. “It’s like, ‘oh you just screwed me over? Let me just go on Tinder and match a ton a guys who think I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread.’”
Pambakian said meeting “the one” on Tinder is not as far-fetched as some may think.
“Tinder does not collect data on the long-term development of connections made via the app,” said Pambakian in an email, “(we) know of thousands of success stories that our users have emailed us with, from engagements to weddings to even Tinder babies.”
On average, users log on to Tinder 11 times a day and every week one million new people join, according to Pambakian.
“Ten years ago people would think it was creepy or bizarre meeting someone online,” said Broadland. “Now it’s the norm. Tinder can be seen as an ice breaker.”