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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Swipe right for revelation: Tinder is more than its stereotype

Jennifers on Tinder
Jennifer’s on Tinder

Dating is not my forte. 
My first kiss was a botched Midnight Yell attempt. We went to Midnight Yell, the lights went out — and nothing. Later I found out he had gotten nervous because it was my first kiss. Adorable. So we met up a few nights later and walked around campus. And we kissed. And like any good first kiss, it was extremely awkward. Then he walked me back to my dorm and I never saw him again.
So … I am flirting inept. And I didn’t understand it. How did people flirt so effortlessly? I wanted to perform a type of social study, and when thinking of places where people go to meet and flirt, one app came to mind — Tinder.
Yes, Tinder. The place where hookups and just all-around nonsense takes place. I made the decision to join Tinder at 2 a.m., thinking I should have followed the advice from “How I Met Your Mother” in the process. I didn’t sign on to find someone. That was the furthest thing from my mind. It started as a social experiment — I was curious to see just how true the stereotypes surrounding Tinder were.
The results were mixed. While the app met some of my expectations in terms of dating conversation, it broke some stereotypes I had regarding Tinder as a communication tool.
From the beginning, the app did not function the way I expected it to. For those of you without a Tinder account, I’ll give you a summary. Essentially, a picture of someone of the opposite sex (or same, depending on your indication) along with their age and first name. If you want to learn more, you click on their profile and there’s an About Me section, followed by a shared likes based on Facebook profiles. If you want to match with the person, you swipe to the right. If you don’t, swipe to the left. The mechanics are simple. If you get a match, the site alerts you and prompts you to message the person.
At first, I messaged no one. I wanted to see how long it would take them to message me first. After I had gotten a few matches, and no messages, I was beginning to feel confused. After the match, wasn’t the person supposed to message you saying some cheesy line or just bluntly stating they wanted to have sex? I asked my friend, who has been on Tinder for about a year longer than I have, and she said that’s not the case.
Instead, the match acts as an ego boost. The thought process is, “Hey, that person thinks I’m cute-interesting-likeable enough that they want to match with me. That’s cool.” Cue going on with going through a list of potentials. So I tried messaging a few people. Some were the typical “Hiya,” while others were a bit more creative. I asked questions such as, “If you could see into the future, what would you not want to see?” And people responded. I think I actually got more responses when I asked questions than when I just said hi.
And yes, there were people who asked to have sex with me. There were people who Tindered while drunk, or used terrible, and sometimes offensive, lines. But there were also people who, like me, were there for conversation. Some may say I was Tindering wrong, and while according to marketing I probably was, I found something that I had actually been looking for — a way to connect with people.
This needs some background. I do not friend strangers on Facebook. I do not friend people unless I actually know them personally. However, I had a thought at the beginning of the semester about how it would be cool to have somewhere online to talk to people I didn’t know, and just talk. And in a way that I did not see coming, Tinder provided that. I’ve even been on a few real life dates that have gone well.
Right now, I’m still not sure how I feel about my experience on Tinder. While the site itself has a less-than-preferable marketing strategy which could lead to dangerous situations if people aren’t careful, the people on the site are just that, people. They have opinions and voices and sometimes just need someone to talk to. Maybe they’re not comfortable talking in social situations in real life.
Will I keep an account forever? Not likely. I’m definitely not on it as much as I was when I first started my account. But I will say this — Tinder surprised me.
Jennifer Reiley is a communication senior and 
assisstant managing editor for The Battalion.

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