Tinder, OKCupid, and a few clever men
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
I was on Tinder for about a week; it took me that long to discover that speed-swipe-dating is mostly useless, and getting sillier by the day.
For all five of you who don’t already know how the Tinder app works, I’ll quickly explain. The app connects to your Facebook account (but it never posts on your behalf), and displays your first name and last initial. To play Tinder, you select the age range and geographical proximity of your ideal matches, and then get to it. Tinder shows you pictures and a brief bio of other members, and then you swipe to the right if you’re interested, and to the left if you’re not. If there’s a match, then you’re able to message each other and presumably date, marry, and live happily ever after.
This style of speed-swipe-dating has been adopted by other online dating sites such as OKCupid—they call it their “locals” feature and it basically works the same way. Swipe one way if you’re DTF, the other way if you’re not. This all seems well and good upfront, but as Logan Hill reports on NYMag.com, some enterprising men have started gaming the system.
Hill spoke to one of OKCupid’s most popular male members for a longform piece about what works in online dating and what doesn’t, and he discovered that 29-year-old New York City realtor James Hawver “never swipes left”—a strategy he learned from a friend.
Seems like a simple hack, but when I read about it I thought it was a game-changer. By liking every woman on Tinder and on OKCupid, he gets a notification whenever anyone likes him, effectively removing any risk for his own ego. But it also strikes me as disingenuous; it puts women in the situation of having to open up and be vulnerable, all by themselves. And considering women flock to Hawver in droves (his phone went off 47 times during Hill’s three-hour interview) he probably gets a considerable number of matches that he isn’t actually interested in. How fair is that to a woman who has put herself out there and expressed interest?
Mass-liking on Tinder and OKCupid raises an interesting question: if everyone is able to hack the swipe system like Hawver and his buddies discovered, does the system even work? There isn’t really a way to tell if a swipe is genuine or not—it’s entirely based on the honour system. If all men and women started swiping right all the time, regardless of any actual interest, everyone would match with everyone. It would be anarchy!
Or, online dating would revert back to the simple salad days of profiles and messages. The days of high-octane “find me a match within two kilometres, right now” swiping will be gone for good, and people will revert back to the painstaking process of actually reading someone’s profile.