The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Online Dating: A Modern Change

An SMU student browses Tinder while hanging out with friends after classes in her off campus apartment.

SMU senior Terah Kimbrell did not have high hopes playing around with Tinder, an online dating app, while abroad in Switzerland. But in Europe, she noticed people were more trusting of strangers. So when she met her now boyfriend she agreed to meet him after they talked for a while on Facebook and Tinder.

“I didn’t expect to get a relationship out of it and I mostly just joined Tinder because I thought it was funny, but I definitely think it is geared towards our generation, most of the people I encountered on the app were close to my age,” said Kimbrell.

Is this instantaneousness and spontaneity the missing piece in the ongoing search for the perfect match? Is it more fun when there is less to create? A quick ego boost and the ability to avoid rejection? In this generation, the answer is yes.

Recently, a new wave of dating apps have sprung up specifically targeting a younger more carefree demographic. These Smartphone apps offer easy access and instant acceptance or rejection. The most popular apps of 2013 include Tinder, Pure, Coffee Meets Bagel, Date My School, Bang With Friends, LuLu, Snapchat, and Grindr. But some experts say they have concerns that these apps rely too heavily on looks rather than substance.

Karen E. Brown, a licensed professional counselor-supervisor and founder and director of the Dallas Counseling and Wellness Center, said she is certainly no expert on apps like Tinder but she does have concerns with the focus being so much on looks.

In my practice I see many couples who originally got together for the wrong reasons and it comes back to haunt them at some point. Physical attraction gets the motor running, chemistry keeps the motor running, but when the motor breaks down now mutual respect, trust, and compatible value systems will get the car back on the road again,” said Brown.

Mobile dating apps offer a more personalized experience, no lengthy introduction, no online dating profiles, no “favorite book,” no monthly fees, just sign up and find matches based on personal interests and conquest. Most importantly, the process is fast, giving users instant satisfaction. However, not all 20-somethings are big fans.

“I have used Tinder, but personally I am better in person; however, for people who are having a hard time meeting people or may not be outgoing it could be a good idea or maybe even for people who are too busy to spend time looking for a significant other,” said SMU senior, Elizabeth Scotti.,, and offer a traditional approach to online dating with personality tests, user generated questions, and compatibility testing. These websites and many others make up a dating industry that is worth over $1 billion, but also an industry that might have reached its peak.

According to Tinder, just one year after launching, Tinder users have swipe-rated each other 13 billion times, three billion in August alone. Two million matches happen each day, and there are 150 known engagements through the app. It’s the fastest growing free dating app in the U.S.

Tinder has become one of the most popular dating apps of 2013. It is similar to the original idea behind Mark Zuckerberg’s creation, Facemask, at Harvard in 2006. Hot or Not? Look at a picture and then swipe right to make it a match, or swipe left to move onto the next headshot. Many have used the location-based app in search of long-term or formal dating while others use it to find a quick romantic getaway near them.

SMU senior, Courtney Michalek, said she was not meeting nice guys at bars while she was interning in New York this past summer. So, it was Michalek’s spontaneous personality and thrill for meeting new people that drew her to Tinder.

“I have dabbled around with the Tinder app. I think it is an extremely entertaining and it was quite the ego boost. I will admit that I have gone out on a limb and gone out on quite a few Tinder dates…but because everyone is so busy in New York, Tinder is totally normal, it serves as a practical outlet to meet singles,” said Michalek.

Whitney Wolfe, SMU alum, and co-founder and the director of marketing at Tinder, handles events, college outreach, and other marketing initiatives for Tinder.

Wolfe said that Tinder caters to everyone because it emulates real life. When someone walks into a coffee shop or down the street you don’t see people’s interests and hobbies written on their foreheads. You notice their initial appearance. Natural human instinct is to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to these people when you see them, based on what you choose determines you approaching them or not, she said.

“Tinder has been wildly successful all over at this point. Dense cities are obvious major pockets of success, so NYC, Rio, London. Tinder is now in every country and is growing like wildfire domestically and internationally,” said Wolfe.

Date My School, founded by a group of students at Columbia University, is another successful dating platform. The app grants access solely to college students and alumni. Users can restrict viewing of their profile to certain areas of study or specific universities.

“I have not used any online outlets at SMU because when I am trying to meet people online, it is usually to get away from the SMU crowd and experience new things and new people,” said Jenny Shaw, SMU junior.

Mobile is the future not only for dating, but also for all social media. Online dating has only tapped into five percent of the single population so the potential for mobile is immense. Online dating apps serve as an ideal outlet for social discovery in our modern generation.

“I don’t think online dating is always successful, but in my case it was. I think online dating apps are successful because our generation is extremely technology driven, everyone is constantly busy and on their phones so why not target the generation that is immune to communicating through a smartphone?” said Kimbrell.

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