To swipe left or to swipe right, that is the question social app users around the globe face as they search for matches with people they have never met.
Making connections through virtual platforms, most notably smartphone apps, is increasing in frequency. However how is the advent of these apps impacting student life on the Hill?
Statistically, the most used of these social apps are Tinder and Grindr. Tinder, a location-based social search app, launched in September 2015. According to research from March 2017, Tinder has been downloaded 100 million times, resulting in 26 million matches daily. A match on these social apps is a mutual interest by two users, indicated by a right swipe.
Grindr, originally started in 2009, is a similar platform for gay and bisexual men to connect. Although both Tinder and Grindr are labeled “social apps,” they are perceived to be primarily used for casual sex and or hookups.
Embers from the Tinder flame have ignited interest in many McDaniel College students who download the app and to see what all the hype is about.
These social apps have exploded into mainstream popularity on campus. Whether through word of mouth or online stories, most McDaniel students have heard of them, and many have downloaded the apps themselves.
“All the girls are like, ‘I’m hooking up with this guy on Tinder’ [so] maybe I could hook up with a girl on Tinder,” A Rouzer resident said.
With many users at McDaniel College and the surrounding area, the chance of seeing another student on Tinder is likely. However, some users have seen people they would least expect to see on these apps.
“I found my RA on Tinder and super-liked her,” one freshman said.
Super-liking is a feature that grants the one giving a super like to be noticed immediately by the recipient. The recipient is informed of this super-like and has the option to swipe left and match with the sender or swipe right and disregard them.
Meeting people online is a double-edged sword, with both pros and cons. One upside is safety, as the original messages are online and not face-to-face.
“Meeting people online is a little easier for shyer people,” a freshman from Pennsylvania said, “If you meet someone online it’s easier to get into a conversation.”
The online platform seemed to be successful in this case: that same freshman from Pennsylvania met his girlfriend on Tinder.
“We hit it off right away when we met in person,” he said.
The other hand, meeting people online certainly has some red flags. Using the internet as a mask is a danger that has the potential to affect many people including a friend of a McDaniel student.
“I had a buddy back home who said he met the coolest girl ever, she was 19 and cute,” an ROTC cadet said, “When [he] met her in person she was 36 and asked if he wanted to buy crack.”
Tinder and other social apps have carved out a considerable presence at McDaniel.
College is an opportunity to create relationships. Experimenting with social apps could be the gateway to meeting someone new. Taking to these platforms is an opportunity for fun, romance, and more, so long as users are conscious of the risks that come with them.