Modern romance is dead and Tinder killed it – The Michigan Daily

From FaceTime and instant messaging to the plethora of social networking platforms on the Internet, “interconnected” has perhaps become the most appropriate term to describe contemporary society. And indeed, with our ability to communicate with anyone with a click, we now have more opportunities to connect than ever before. Given all this, one question remains: why do they make so many? americans do you feel more alone than ever?

The answer may be rooted in the decline of genuine and authentic relationships, especially romantic relationships. A to study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley revealed that the number of Americans who do not have a “stable romantic partner” has increased by 50% since 1986.

Many experts attribute this statistic to the rise of social media and casual dating apps, with almost half of young adults in the US reporting having used an online dating platform. Apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and OkCupid are marketed on the promise of increasing your chances of finding love. However, the numbers don’t seem to add up: despite the high volume of individuals using these dating sites (roughly 53 million in 2022), only 12% of these people reported that they eventually formed a committed relationship.

So why is this the case? The ultimate goal of online dating apps should be to function as a conduit to create committed relationships, right? bad The field of online dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry: an industry that primarily makes a profit addiction to the user, mostly keeping its users single. The way in which the industry achieves this is twofold, depending on the qualities of gamification and what psychologist Barry Schwartz refers to as the “paradox of choice“.

The presence of the paradox of choice in online dating is perhaps best understood through the analogy of online shopping. Studies have shown that as shoppers are exposed to more options for potential purchases, they are paradoxically less likely to be satisfied with their final decision. As our brains are flooded with a variety of options, we often experiment paralysis of choice: A state induced by anxiety that prevents us from making a decisive decision.

On Tinder, the user experience of choice overload has become a common occurrence. In the emergence of what some call “sliders in series”, it can be seen that many users are very hesitant to commit to a single option due to the fear of missing out on a potentially better one.

The infiltration of the paradox of choice into the realm of relationships is particularly dangerous. Unlike online shopping, users don’t choose between products, they choose between people. The resulting world of online dating has become a breeding ground objectification, sexual harassment i insecurityas choices are increasingly influenced by abundance and appearances rather than genuine compatibility.

The other driving factor behind the addictive quality of these dating apps is gamification. Natasha Dow Schüll, author of “Addiction by design,” defines gamification as when “developers seamlessly apply game elements to other aspects of life, to capture attention, drive engagement, and generate revenue.” Schüll explains that these dating apps are indifferent to positive outcomes of users, such as committed relationships or marriage.

Rather, they are driven by the ultimate goal of increasing revenue, and making sure their users stay on these dating apps is one of the best ways to do that. Accordingly, these platforms are designed to be addictive, using the same game-like qualities found in gambling and slots to keep audiences engaged. The most tangible example of this can be found in the concept of “Infinite scroll.”

“Infinite scrolling” is a feature used in most social networks and dating apps that allows users to continuously scroll between posts and profiles, instead of clicking through multiple pages. Based on what psychologists have termed as “unit bias”, the ability to scroll endlessly exploits the natural human desire to complete a defined unit of something.

When the unit becomes undefined (or in this case, infinite), the brain shows one addictive response, urging us to keep moving in the hope of reaching a non-existent end point. It works similar to a slot machine: the point at which a user will receive their theoretical reward is undefined, so they keep buying into the system in hopes of hitting the jackpot next term.

The ethical ramifications of introducing this concept into the world of romantic relationships are dire. As users continue to swipe endlessly through apps like Tinder and Hinge, the reward they’re looking for isn’t simply monetary — it’s a real person with a real life they’re interacting with.

The instant gratification each “match” provides makes the idea of ​​exclusivity seem unsettling, with many people remaining addicted to these apps even in committed relationships. Specifically, 30% of Tinder users they are married, and another 12% are in relationships. Because of this, the world of online dating has become one bed for cheating and sex without commitment. Users are immersed in an endless and twisty game, where matches and connections act as points to keep score.

All of these conditions have combined to create an online dating environment that is less than ideal. And unfortunately, these negative impacts have been shown to disproportionately affect women. Studies have shown that women are more likely to experience abuse and harassment online on these platforms than men. Specifically, in a to study of women who had used some kind of dating platform in the last 15 years, more than a third of them reported being sexually assaulted by someone they met on one of those apps. reports low self-esteem and feelings of objectification are not uncommon either. Users’ ability to create an idealized, “filtered” version of themselves online can promote not healthy Thinking: Users are increasingly conditioned to think that this “filtered” version of themselves is the only one that is reasonable to present to the outside world.

Therefore, make these claims that the “dating apocalypse“Is it about us actually have any validity? The answer is complicated. While the rise of social media and online dating apps have perpetuated a strong connection culturea growing awareness of the toxicity of these platforms has also created an equally strong counter-movement. Growing pressure as a result of sexual harassment and lack of corporate oversight has spread awareness of the problem, welcome further research on how to correct the flawed nature of these applications. However, for the foreseeable future, it looks like these apps are here to stay. Consequently, users have a choice: in an increasingly digitized world, it is up to each of us to decide whether we want our love life to fall into this category as well.

Tate Moyer is an opinion columnist and can be reached at

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