When Love Techs Over

tinderBack in the annals of time when we all lived in tiny hamlets, young men would have to set off on arduous quests towards the bright lights of the big cities just so they could find a wife who wasn’t either their sister or their cousin. These days you just have to reach into your pocket to be presented with a local selection of some of Tinder’s 50 million active users, 1.2 million of them in London alone.

Every day, Tinder users swipe 1.5 billion times and create 21 million matches. If you can’t get a life partner, on-off casual lover or awkward late-night hook-up out of that lot you should probably just call it a day and head back home to the hamlet.

The media loves a good death of technology story – just look at the way the demise of Facebook has been being confidently predicted ever since your parents discovered it – yet in Tinder’s case, as in Mark Twain’s, the reports have been greatly exaggerated. While the papers have been predicting rival app Happn could be the one to assume Tinder’s crown, it remains the fact that in London less than a quarter of the number of people have used it as are on Tinder, and many of those won’t have returned when they spotted the lower levels of activity. It’s the same as dating ever was – if you’re looking to meet someone, you head to the busiest club, not the quiet pub with the old men playing backgammon in the corner.

Tinder has recently tried to monetise its massive market dominance by introducing some paid features, but the great advantage it maintains over its rivals is its simplicity. Apps like OkCupid and Hinge rely on you creating an extensive profile, while Happn has actually taken a step backwards by allowing you to attempt to ‘charm’ people who haven’t already matched with you.

On Tinder, every conversation is predicated on the fact that there’s already at least a passing mutual attraction. That means it all comes down to how you present yourself and what you have to say for yourself when someone sparks up a conversation. As long as you can delete the cheesy pictures of you next to a sedated tiger, drop the sleazy chat-up lines and never, ever talk about your penis, Tinder is still very much the place to be for one simple reason: it’s where everyone else is too.

Originally published in Man London, Summer 2015.