Not a week goes by where there isn’t a thinkpiece published attributing the failures of modern romance to dating apps. The eroders of human connection, promoting superficial decision making, rendering it impossible for two people to truly click.

However, they are a mainstay in the way we conduct our romantic interactions and UEA is no different. 68 percent of the participants in our survey having used a dating app, with 18 percent users stating they found a relationship through them. Market leader Tinder came out as the most popular app by far, with 4 out of every 5 students using it as their primary app.

Contrasted with the imagery of endless swiping, the outcomes for students using dating apps at UEA appears to be more positive than the British population as a whole. A recent Yougov survey found that while up to half of young people regularly use dating apps, it is their least preferred means of meeting people. Our university environment may have a lot to say for why people see greater levels of success, but does beg the question as to whether dating apps are in need of a shake up.

Data has been utilised to explore the romantic potential of pairings since the sixties. These practices have followed suit over each decade’s advancements in technology, culminating in the development of Match.com in 1995. Match.com remains the world’s biggest dating site to this day, but that hasn’t stopped it’s owners from advancing into purchases of applications in later years such as Tinder.

The creation of the internet amplified this framework to an alarming degree. The threading of matchmaking into mobile applications represents a newfound portability and efficiency. Many users of the apps concede that their standards are raised to an unreasonable standard.

The past few years have seen a shift in the psychological and social frameworks in which these apps operate. The concept of ‘dating app fatigue’, argued by Julie Beck of The Atlantic has become a real problem, wherein the current leading apps on the market has fostered the promise of endless potential partners. People are increasingly discarding potential dates on the basis that there is a perfect match swipes ahead. Adversely, people enter the experience with zero expectations due to previous disappointments, swiping on people they have no intention of ever speaking to.

Is the damage permanent? Described by Refinery29 as the ‘anti-Tinder’, Hinge seems to think not. Having experienced an overhaul across 2016 and 2017 after years of haemorrhaging users, the app has been leading the way in manufacturing a new attitude that reaches beyond just swiping. In its marketing attempts to puncture through the fogginess, it presents prospective users with the promise that it is ‘designed to be deleted’.

Hinge places an emphasis, offering prompt questions for the user to input detailed responses to unique question prompts in order to give other users more room for common ground and conversation openers. It gives you options to input data such as political preferences and height. It even proposes to have added ‘anti-ghosting features’, wherein the user is prompted to engage with specific activities related to the user they have connected with.

It seems that other apps are following suit in stimulating their Bumble’s current marketing strategy mimics that of a lifestyle brand, with sections of its website dedicated to utilising the app for networking and blogging. LGBTQ+ female targeted app HER puts on regular clubbing events that encourage its users to meet.

However, though Hinge is growing in some of the UK’s larger cities, Tinder still boasts over 50 million daily active users globally. There are people who wish to use the app for nothing more than mindless swiping. Things aren’t always as black and white, – it’s likelier that instead of Hinge proposing to change the dating app game, it has noticed that people in 2019 require different things from their experience.


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