Cal Poly students are using Tinder – but not for hookups. Okay, that’s not entirely true. But a trend among the social media savvy students is using Tinder for entertainment more than the pursuit of love. “Honestly, Tinder is like instant gratification” said Cristina, an occasional swiper who has never gone on an actual meet up, “You get to look at people and feel good about yourself because people match with you. You don’t ever have to act on it. There’s no repercussions”
Tinder, for anyone unfamiliar, is basically the most simplified possible form of online dating. At one glance, the user decides to swipe right or left, yes or no. You’re lucky if they even read you’re bio.
It fits well with the social media mentality, snap judgments based on a tiny glimpse of a whole person. Many college students today understand this and use it to their advantage. The moments that they share tell a carefully curated story. The point of Tinder has become relatively similar to that of Instagram, users put out the pictures that they think their followers want to see, and the followers affirm with likes or swipes.
There’s a downside to this formula, though. The swipes don’t always go your way. First year Sidra Knox said, “I have a love/hate relationship with Tinder. On a good day, you can get a huge confidence boost. On a bad day, you can feel really shitty… I will use it three days in a row for hours at a time and then stop using the app for three weeks.”
When asked if her Tinder is an accurate representation of herself, first year Mallory said, “Most definitely not. Most of the pictures on my Tinder are the same as Instagram. They’re just the ones I feel like I look the best in”
But there are obviously differences in the two medias. “On Instagram, I’m trying to create more of a personality. On Tinder, though, it’s just four photos. I’m just trying to get a confidence boost from someone I’m never gonna talk to again,” said Mallory. The format of Tinder is so basic that there’s no use in even faking a personality, it’s completely based on appearance.
In fact, the two apps have recently banded together to allow Tinder users to see the 34 most recent posts on a person’s Instagram. This link can be clicked on to open the Instagram app and go full-stalker-mode if four photos wasn’t enough.
“Especially in college, it’s fun to go on there and see people you know. You screenshot it and send it to your friends like ‘oh, that’s the guy from down the hall’” said Mallory. So it gets added to the growing cache of knowledge about college acquaintances, a real-life profile that we build of others: John, goes to Cal Poly, plays baseball, has a Tinder. It’s up to the individual to decide what this means about the person behind the profile.