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Platonic Tinder: A Social Experiment

People download Tinder for many different reasons: casual conversations, finding a hook up, or attempting to meet the love of their life.  It’s widely known by our generation that Tinder was created for matchmaking, but nowhere on the website or app store does it explicitly say that.  Even the description of Tinder on the app store states: "Tinder is the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. Swipe right to like or left to pass. If someone likes you back, it’s a match! Chat with a match or snap a photo to share a Moment with all of your matches at once. It’s a new way to express yourself and share with friends."

Without knowing anything else about Tinder, one could assume it could be used to make friends, don’t you think?

Well this is where Ryan Dobbins’ social experiment comes in...

In his communications ethics class, Ryan was assigned the task of breaching a digital social media norm in order to evaluate the impact networked social media has on our lives.  Most people friend someone random on Facebook and start a conversation on their wall or text an acquaintance hourly updates about their life over a 48 hour period, but Ryan wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before: he wanted to attempt to make friends using Tinder.

As his girlfriend, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of my boyfriend talking to random girls on Tinder, but once I found out the nature of the assignment, I thought it was brilliant.

So he began his experiment with low expectations and hoped for the best.  In most cases, he would begin a normal conversation before vaguely mentioning that he had a girlfriend.  Here are some of the responses he got in return:

Unphased: No reaction whatsoever


Uncomfortable: Some concern, but not too alarmed


Shocked: Extreme confusion, followed by no response


Confused: An explanation of what Tinder is actually used for


Disbelief: Disbelief and discomfort followed by criticism


Aggressive: I don't even know what to say, but it's my personal favorite


One week and 300 matches later, Ryan didn’t make a single friend.  His social experiment ultimately proved the preconceived notion that Tinder is an app better suited for hook ups than platonic friendships (as if anyone doubted that beforehand).  So if you’re using Tinder like Ryan did, expect #nonewfriends.  If you’re using it for anything else, you’re probably in the clear.  Regardless of your reasons, happy swiping!

Social media and beauty obsessed.  Twitter/Instagram: @caseyamcbride
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