Some people, used to reading between the lines in such matters, simply assume casual sex. I ask how she makes that clear, and she says she does not respond to messages that arrive at 3 A. She has used the site both in New York, where she lives, and in the Bay Area, where she is from. When she signed on in the Bay, she felt a flood of recognition: These are my people! But how does she distinguish that from people in New York?She describes a typical photo of a New Yorker as a selfie taken in a fancy lounge bathroom while wearing a suit.It makes me look at my external world in a more favorable way, she says. Actually communicating with people is another story. Her two dates both persuaded her to go out by being really solid text conversationalists. They did not end in sex, unlike many of her first dates on Ok Cupid.I do a lot of not responding, which is probably horrible, politenesswise, she says. I’m a social worker, and I talk to people all day, she says. Part of this was simply that expectations are so much lower on Tinder; all you know about the people in your folder is that your advances are welcome.It takes an especially dynamic person to win her over at text messaging. The lack of stated purpose in each profile can lead to some confusion.In fact, many of the people I interviewed asked what the site is supposed to be for. I ask what that means, and she says, More earthy, hipstery thirtysomething folks. They were all so cute and looked so friendly and warm and fun.
Two people who swipe each other to the right will match. In December, I flew out to Los Angeles, where Tinder is based, to visit the company’s offices and meet two of its founders, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, both 27.When those advances or friendings or followings are unwanted, they say, the overtures can seem a little creepy.(Consider, for example, the long-standing mystery of the Facebook poke.) Sean was interested in the idea of the double opt-in—some establishment of mutual interest that precedes interaction. Most of the big players (including Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Ok Cupid, e Harmony, Manhunt, JDate, and Christian Mingle) established themselves before billions of humans carried miniature satellite-connected data processors in their pockets, before most people felt comfortable using their real names to seek companionship online, and before a billion people joined Facebook—before Facebook even existed.As a college student, co-founder Justin Mateen perfected a system of party promotion.He would strike an agreement with a club to ensure a minimum of drink sales. Then he would enlist representatives from the fraternities and sororities of USC and UCLA to recruit people, promising a free ticket for every ten tickets sold from their houses and a monetary prize if they brought one hundred partygoers.