Tinder: The online dating app everyone's STILL talking about

Sally Newall

Tinder is the dating app that came out of nowhere to completely dominate the UK dating scene - find out the latest about the hugely popular dating app



So what's the big deal with Tinder? If you're single, you're probably on there. If you're happily coupled up, you've probably helped your single girlfriends swipe through the reams of desirable - and not so desirable - potential dates. You cannot escape it.

New research shows that there are 50 million active users on Tinder, who check their accounts 11 times per day and spend an average of 90 minutes per day on the app. Even celebrities, it seems.

Thought that guy you swiped left for bore an uncanny resemblance to *insert dream celebrity date name here*? Well, it just might have been your A-List beloved - particularly if his or her name sat next to a little blue tick - because Tinder has introduced verified profiles for "notable public figures, celebrities and athletes", much like Twitter and Facebook. And if you're all too familiar with the perils of Tinder, we've charted the 12 most soul-destroying things about online dating.

But, if all of this means nothing to you, you're going to want to know exactly what is Tinder and how does Tinder work? 

Here's everything you need to know about the app everyone's talking about...

So, Tinder... tell me more?

It's an online dating app. When it first came on the scene, it was used more as a hook-up/casual sex app because it finds you potential matches based on their proximity to you, but now almost everyone seems to be on it.

How does this Tinder app work then?

It's really very simple and easy. It finds your location using GPS, then uses your Facebook information to create your profile (don't worry, nothing about Tinder will ever be posted to Facebook). A Tinder profile is made up of your first name, age, photos (of your choice) and any pages you've 'liked' on Facebook. Recently, Tinder also added a feature that lets you share your education and occupation in your bio - so you can see if you share common interests with potential matches.

Tinder then finds you potential matches near you (you can narrow it down by searching by age and distance) and if they take your fancy, you swipe right to 'like' them. If not, go left to 'pass'. If they’ve also 'liked' you – bingo. It’s a match and you can start messaging. 

There are Tinder trends you can follow, too: a recent analysis of 12,000 profile photos of both men and women showed that 72% of them wore neutral colours in their pictures, as opposed to eye-catching bright colours or a garish print, with the colour black overwhelmingly popular for people's chosen outfits.

Beware of scams:

A new problem facing Tinder is a wave of scams. The latest one involves being messaged by what seems like a match, who'll then ask you if you're verified on Tinder, and tell you that in order to be verified you just need to click a link and enter a code. The 'verification' service is actually a porn website and will charge you £90 after you enter your credit card details for 'age verification.' Which definitely wasn't what you wanted.

How to create the perfect Tinder profile (according to science)

Digital dating is hard. Even Zac Effron recently admitted that he couldn’t get someone to swipe right for him on tinder after he joined the app post break-up with Sami Miro.

Admittedly, this was probably down to everyone thinking his tinder profile was fake. But for the rest of us, the struggle is real.

So if a Hollywood A-lister can’t even get it right, how on earth are we meant to create the perfect Tinder profile (right-swipeable obvs) to lure in our soul mate?

According to a new study by the University of Iowa, the secret to success on dating apps comes down to making sure that your profile pictures aren’t all too pristine.

The study found that profiles with a high level of ‘selective self-presentation’ (ie perfectly posed, highly filtered images) were deemed less socially attractive and less trustworthy than those with a low level of self-presentation. Simply put, the more natural your photos, the more attractive you are.

To find these results, researchers created profiles which combined ‘selective self-presentation’ (i.e. making yourself look as good as possible in photos) and ‘warranting’ (providing Googleable details about yourself which would be hard to manipulate). Participants were then asked to rate profiles on qualities such as trust and social attraction, as well as outcomes such as whether they’d like to meet up and date them.

The study concluded that ‘users generally appreciate flattering information but are less attracted to others who display an exclusively positive persona.’ Put simply, you’re better off presenting your actual self rather than your idealised self if you want to attract a date. Doing otherwise, the study explains, ‘might be coded as bragging, which is associated with negative social consequences and reduced liking.’

But as well as finding that we’re less attracted to idealized online versions of people, the study also found that ‘warrantability’ is important. Transparency online ‘increases viewers’ beliefs that a person presented in a profile corresponds with the person creating the profile,’ explains the study. The result? No nasty surprises.

So the key to getting people to swipe right? Be yourself. Put up photos which represent you how you really look (not photos from travelling circa 2005, then) and include links to your social media accounts so that potential dates can do their background research.

Then all you need to do is sit back and watch the matches flood in… 

Tinder updates:

Tinder is always being updated and improved and one of the big updates in 2016 came in June, when Tinder announced that it will only be available to those over 18-years-old.

Confirming the news in a statement, a spokesperson for Tinder said: 'On a platform that has facilitated over 11 billion connections, we have the responsibility of constantly assessing our different user experiences. Consistent with this responsibility, we have decided to discontinue service for under 18 users. We believe this is the best policy moving forward.'

Prior to this update, Tinder had a section for 13 to 17-year-olds to use the platform but when the new update comes in on the 13th of June 2016, this will be discontinued.

In lighter news though, earlier this year it was revealed that a small pool of lucky Tinder users in Australia could try out Tinder Social - a new feature that allows you and your friends to create a groups and set up group dates.

Using the app in group mode let's you swipe through potential groups, find the ones you like and match if they like you back. 

Meanwhile, the CEO of Tinder, Sean Rad, recently declared the profile pictures most likely to land you a date on the app: 'When your photo expresses something about your interests - like a skier skiing - or something about your personality, you do better.'

'You do better as in you get more matches. I always tell people to be yourself.'

So stop with the trout pout, okay.

He also dished out some advice on what you shouldn't do, saying: 'The model-y poses never work.'

Tinder also announced this year that you'll now be able to send GIFS on the app - which opens up a whole new world of dating possibilities. And according to the app's creators using this functionality will increase your chances of getting a response by 30% and make the conversation last twice as long. What are you waiting for? 



In December 2015, Tinder hooked up with the NHS to raise awareness about organ donation. Three well-known personalities - Made in Chelsea's Jamie Laing, Olympic Gold medallist Jade Jones and Emmerdale's Gemma Oaten - are the faces of The Wait campaign and Tinder has created bespoke profiles for each of them. If a user swipes right on any of these profiles during two weeks in December 2015 a message will flash up that reads: 'If only it was that easy for those in need of a life-saving organ to find a match.' The campaign aims to get more young people on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Currently there are nearly 7,000 people on the UK transplant waiting list and in the last ten years more than 6000 people in the UK have died while waiting for a potentially life-saving operation. 

But it seems in recent months, Tinder has acquired a celeb-stocked collection of profiles: you definitely should keep your eyes peeled - because apparently Leonardo DiCaprio has signed up. Or should we say Leonard, which is his pseudonym. According to the American publication Star Magazine, DiCaprio told a 'source' at Coachella that he's 'obsessed with swiping on girls and seeing who's out there. He said there's actually a lot of other celebs who use Tinder just for fun!'

And maybe he's right. Not so long ago, an eagle-eyed Reddit user also spotted Hilary Duff on Tinder...

'I've always met people through work and I have never been on a blind date. What's the worst that could happen?' Duff said in a video interview. She went on to describe what she's looking for: 'I think the first thing is obviously looks, which sounds super vain, but that is what you first go for: natural chemistry. Also what they say in their profile has to be funny. I don't want to see a shirtless mirror selfie. That is instantly a left. Someone who looks like they like to do fun things and someone who can make you laugh in their profile.'

The dating app has also recently integrated Instagram into its free, core offering. It means you will now be able to see the 34 most recent snaps from your potential date's Insta account, meaning that you can get a better idea of whether they're right for you. Another exciting new feature means Tinder will show you matches it thinks you will swipe right on, based on past swipes, and thanks to a fancy new algorithm.



So, what's the verdict? 

Here's our Tinder review:

Pros

- It's quick. No agonising over a profile for hours. You can be up and running in about a minute.

- It’s natural. You 'like' people in the same way you would in a bar – on whether you find them attractive at first glance. A little shallow, yes, but let’s face it, it’s what we all do on a night out anyway.

- The mutual friends function means people almost come with references – if you’ve got 10 Facebook friends in common with a match, chances are you could be on to a winner. In addition to common friends, Tinder now shows you when you and your match are in the same social circle, too.

- It’s easy to use on the run. The app’s designed for mobile users, and it shows. The layout’s clear and it’s simple to use. Perfect to fill minutes when you’re waiting for the bus.

- The embarrassment factor’s limited. Say you 'like' a Jamie Dornan-esque hottie. He’ll never know, unless he 'likes' you too.

- No unsolicited emails. On most dating sites, anyone can message you. But with Tinder, only someone you’ve 'liked' can make contact.

Cons


- We've found it's rare for guys to actually start up a conversation once they've matched with you, leaving you with lots of matches and not much else.

- It is still very casual sex-focussed. Many men are only on Tinder for a quick hook-up, so if it's a serious relationship you're after this app might not be for you.

- As with all types of dating, not everyone has the best experience - but how is THIS for being the worst Tinder experience ever?

- It’s fickle. You can see when people last logged in. So that hot ski instructor you’ve been messaging may have been online 20 minutes ago. And then ignored your message. Demoralising. But perhaps it’s because...

- ...it’s hard to focus. The game-style of Tinder means it’s really easy to keep playing and forget about that hottie you were messaging yesterday. If you’re serious about finding someone, you’ll need to stay focussed.

- It’s addictive. You have been warned.



Top tips for using Tinder:

- The best times to use Tinder are Spring and Autumn, according to online dating coahc Ivana Franekova. She calls this the 'hunting season.'

- Mix up your photos. Tinder allows you to have six photos. Make sure these show you have a full and interesting life. Don't have any of you in a bikini - this will probably only attract guys who are after one thing.

- Try and be creative with your messages. Don't just say' hey'. Each person will have dozens and dozens of matches - you need to stand out.

- Be on the look out for clues about height. On Tinder, age is the only vital stat you get, so it can be a bit of a height lottery. 

- Be safe. It goes without saying, but, if you do go on a Tinder date, let someone know where you are and always meet in a public place.

Don't fancy Tinder? Here are 11 of the best online dating sites for you to try out

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