The Surge of Swiping

The search for their soulmates is on! So many positives and negatives stir around the dating apps, services, and websites that hinder the love seeking population. Pew Research looked into the online dating stigma and stories of many who have first hand experienced this online love circle. After conducting surveys throughout the American population, it is found that 30% of U.S. adults say they have used a dating service. Numbers have risen over the years of Americans who have used these platforms and also of those who ended up with something serious compared to surveys done in 2013….reason being, the usage of social media and/or mobile dating apps/websites.

Technology has changed the way people date in the 21st century, both for the better and for the worse. According to Stylight Magazine, “across the United States, online dating has become the second-most popular way to find a significant other”. Now dating services have been around since the first computer-based matchmaking service in the United States was created in 1965 which was done by two Harvard students.  Progressively as technology advanced, so did the services. I found it interesting how was the first up and running dating website in 1995. The more access people had to computers, the more participants in the services. 

According to Pew Research “about three-quarters of U.S. adults now own a desktop or laptop computer” and 85% own a smartphone of some kind that has access to the internet. With that being said, the ability to be able to access these mobile dating apps or log onto the online dating websites is as easy as it gets. 

As a woman of 21 years of age and someone who is currently in college, dating apps are used quite frequently. From first hand knowledge, from my area the most popular app that is used is Tinder. From more filled or more populated areas, Hinge and Bumble seem to be very commonly used. Online dating was known to have the stigma of just being used in college for ‘hookups’ but the stigma is being proved wrong according to a study conducted by ABODO. According to the article written by Emma Woodley, “A huge 91% of college students surveyed said they were using dating apps for more than just hookups” and “all genders said they used online dating for “entertainment” purposes more than any other reason”. 

Throughout many articles it is noticed that as these services get more popular among college age adults, more negatives come into play for younger women. Why is that? Pew Research looked into this narrative and found that Six-in-ten women under the age of 35 have experienced harassment due to online dating apps/websites. They’re twice as likely as the males to be threatened or called an offensive name, due to most times them rejecting their ‘matches’. As fairy tale relationships do come out of online dating services, there are horror stories, especially for women. After interviewing two college ladies who will be referred to as Jess and Katie, you can see where these sites can go wrong, but also how they can go right.

Since they are roommates I held a mini interview with them where I got their insight and their experiences with dating apps while being in college. Both of these girls travel a lot and I’ve known they have had a couple experiences that seemed unreal in a sense. 

Last summer the two girls were visiting Miami, Florida and were using Tinder as a way to meet people to go out and hang out with during their stay. As Miami is a place where promoters host events at bars and hotels, it is not uncommon for them to reach out to pretty girls that they want to attend the parties. Jess matched with someone who appeared to be a young promoter inviting them to a rooftop pool event where they were able to receive free food and drinks all day and then be able to skip the line at the club later that night. Because of the location and the known promoter inviting them, they thought they would be fine to go and mingle with the people there. Upon arriving it turns out it was only a small group of friends that the promoter invited and they ended up having to leave early due to him lying about the event and being creepy.

On the flip side, the two again traveled to NYC for Katie’s 21st birthday where they were in a big group of about ten people who attended and stayed together. The group was using the app called Hinge to find where to go out that night. Another situation where they all were invited out was in motion but this time, with a group of men who were there for a similar reason. The men ended up buying them dinner and taking them to a usual club they go to when they are in the city. In this instance, Katie actually hit it off with the one gentleman she met and they still are friends to this day! 

As you can see, these two stories are very different in the outcomes. The first being an absolute horror story where they were deceived into believing where they were going was something it was not. It was a catfish event which is very common when younger girls are dm’d and messaged and end up in this situation. But, in NYC the tables were turned and they ended up meeting people who were just as they seemed online.

The online dating world can be scary and intimidating but if you stay aware and stay alert you’ll be in the clear. With today’s technology the opportunities for love are endless. Happy swiping!

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