Dating apps research

Dating App Research Project — Andy Hunsucker

Dating App Research Project — Andy Hunsucker

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The unwelcome, unsought and altogether unsexy COVID-19 pandemic was arguably the greatest monkey wrench for the dating app industry. The business model is founded on forging proximate relationships, and—rightly or wrongly—associated with casual sex.

Beginning in March 2020, it was facing a bleak future as relationships were to be mediated by screens for an unforeseeable amount of time. Innovations incustomer messaging and promotional material helped the apps pivot away from hook-up culture and toward a new kind of "virtual dating"—one in which couples met over video calls with take-it-slow expectations. Connections, relationships and authenticity were prized over instant chemistry and mutual sexual attraction.

These apps dating apps research being implicated in this bigger public discussion, so it would have been very strange if they had just stayed the course. The eight apps in this study were those marketed primarily to heterosexual populations—data from queer-oriented apps like Grindr and Her are discussed in their other research. Most of the app companies were quick to seize the opportunities presented by improved video calling technology to normalize virtual dating. Although the term dates back to the 1990s, its meaning has substantially evolved from the text- and e-mail-based connections made then.

Video technology makes it possible for prospective couples to eat, drink and converse together from their respective homes. It may lack the atmosphere of a restaurant or dating apps research, but it opens new possibilities for connection. To keep users coming back even when in-person dating was difficult, if not impossible, apps changed how they look and are used. Some developed their own video-call technology and incorporated it into their interfaces. Others published listicles and tips on spicing up virtual dates, created student-specific features and altered their logos to play up the at-home vibe.

In general, they kept user-facing language light and conversational. However, as Duguay notes, this presents its own set of dating apps research.

For one, it excludes users who are not looking for long-term romance. Second, the approach precludes sexual activity and assumes people should put their sexuality aside during a pandemic. And, Dietzel adds, the inevitable return to in-person does not necessarily mean abandoning the new messaging adopted by companies like Bumble.

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Are dating apps changing the way we meet and date?

The emergence and popularization of dating apps have changed the way people meet and interact with potential romantic and sexual partners. In parallel with the increased use of these applications, a remarkable scientific literature has developed. However, due to the recency of the phenomenon, some gaps in the existing research can be expected.

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What are the most popular dating apps?

The most widely used, and therefore the most examined, apps in the studies are Tinder and Grindr. The first is the most popular among heterosexuals, and the second among men of sexual minorities [ 3, 18, 36, 70 ].

What are the risks associated with dating apps?

The literature on the risks associated with using dating apps is much broader, perhaps explaining the negative social vision of them that still exists nowadays. These risks have highlighted body image, aggression, and the performance of risky sexual behaviors.

Do dating apps affect the sociodemographic and personality characteristics of users?

Thus, it is advisable to improve the understanding of the sociodemographic and personality characteristics of those who use dating apps, to assess possible differences with those who do not use them.

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How have dating apps changed the way we find our partners?

With the arrival of dating apps there has been a change in how many of us are finding our partners and indeed what we are looking for. Let’s for example take the app Tinder. Tinder lets you search for single people in your area looking to meet for dating or any other activity you could care to mention.

How has technology changed the way we meet and date?

The adoption of technology has changed the way we connect and converse with others in our society and dating is no exception. The prevalence of smart phones mean we are always contactable, social media allows others to get to know us before we have even met, and dating apps give us an abundance of choice in a suitable partner or partners.

Who benefits the most from dating apps?

People who have in the past had trouble finding a potential partner benefit the most from the broader choice set provided by the dating apps. Internet dating has the potential to serve people who were ill-served by family, friends and work. One group of people who was ill-served was the LGBTQ+ community.

Is online dating changing the way we think about love?

“Online dating is changing the way we think about love,” she says. “One idea that has been really strong in the past – certainly in Hollywood movies – is that love is something you can bump into, unexpectedly, during a random encounter.”

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