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feeling.” Other people said they liked the fact that on an app, their first exchanges with a prospective date could play out via text rather than in a face-to-face or phone conversation, which had more potential to be awkward. “This person is interested in me to some extent.” The problem is that the more Anna uses apps, the less she can imagine getting along without them.
Anna, who graduated from college three years ago, told me that in school, she struggled to “read” people. “I never really learned how to meet people in real life,” she said.
The majority of men on Tinder just swipe right on everybody.
They say yes, yes, yes to every woman.”Stories from other app users bear out the idea of apps as diversions rather than matchmakers.
Another woman wrote that she was “too lazy” to meet people, adding: “I usually download dating apps on a Tuesday when I’m bored, watching TV …
I don’t try very hard.” Yet another woman said that she used an app, but only “after two glasses of white wine—then I promptly delete it after two hours of fruitless swiping.”Many critiques of online dating, including a 2013 article by Dan Slater in The Atlantic, adapted from his book A Million First Dates, have focused on the idea that too many options can lead to “choice overload,” which in turn leads to dissatisfaction.
Then she remembered that she’d seen his profile on Tinder.
“Maybe next time I sign in,” she said, musing aloud, “I’ll just swipe right so I don’t have to do this awkward thing and get rejected.”Apart from helping people avoid the potential embarrassments (if also, maybe, the exhilaration) of old-fashioned flirting, apps are quite useful to those who are in what economists call “thin markets”—markets with a relatively low number of participants.
Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist who runs a longitudinal study out of Stanford called “How Couples Meet and Stay Together,” questions this hypothesis; his research finds that couples who meet online tend to marry more quickly than other couples, a fact that hardly suggests indecision.
The phrase If something exists, there is porn of it used to be a clever internet meme; now it’s a truism.