THE BLOG

A New Spawn of Social

28/01/2014 10:29 GMT | Updated 29/03/2014 09:59 GMT

I've been sat for a while trying to come up with what my first blog on The Huffington Post should be about. When discussing what I should write about with a friend they suggested I should somehow work in my 'hilarious' tinder anecdotes I seem to be slowly compiling.

At first I out rightly rejected his idea, slightly ashamed that I had actually forced myself onto tinder 'dates' (my housemate is adamant they don't really count) however, always at a bid of trying to gain a few laughs, I've decided to work with it.

Always in the interest of good journalism let's begin this piece with a little bit of background research. Where has this tinder phenomenon sprung from? It is a spawn from the rise in online dating, growing from being a topic considered risqué to now, where there has been a 57% increase of people worldwide using it, and is now an industry that is used by 40 million people. 80% of people claim to know someone who has found love through online dating, I certainly do, even more than one in fact. So with this kind of success rate, it makes you wonder; why haven't more people logged on?

There could be a number of reasons answering the above. Number one, the financial implications. You may not be able to put a price on that feeling you get for the one you love, but turns out you can certainly put one on finding it. Another aspect is the gruelling, trialling, rigorous and slightly humiliating questionnaires and personality tests you are put through before opening the gateway to finding your cyber Casanova. I had a slightly traumatic experience when helping my mother sign up to one site, where the questionnaire took a nasty and unexpected turn and started asking for her sexual preferences. After her saying 'you should probably leave the room for this bit' I swiftly did, considering to never return again.

Now this is where today's beloved app Tinder supposedly comes in, using your details from other social media apps it quickly tots up who is nearby and showcases what's on offer. It offers easy to use and instant result solution to meeting new people. Swiping either left on their photo for thumbs up or right if they don't tickle your fancy. All you have to base this decision on is a couple of Facebook photos, so guys, if yours is a selfie of you topless in the bathroom mirror I'd consider changing your tactics... you may get a few more matches. The up rise of this is either a groundbreaking and sure fire way of meeting someone new, or a decline on our part with the amount of effort we are willing to put into socialising outside our usual crowd, either or, it has not stopped me from downloading.

Using Tinder for me is like eating a MacDonald's. It's something I do often but hate to admit to, however seek to it for some feeling of comfort or joy (that little air punch you do when you match with someone that doesn't look like a shoe)... then eventually having that feeling of guilt set in after my fast food flirting bender. So why on earth do I, and the majority of twenty something's out, there do it? Seeing as I don't (and will never) use the app as what a friend so delicately described as a 'shag satnav;' and I am not looking to gain any form of romantic attachment with anyone on it. Yet then how come while I'm waiting in the queue at Lidl, because the queues there are longer than the Great Wall of China, do I find myself slowly gaining motion sickness and heightening my chances of arthritis from the continuous swiping. It can't just be the slight ego boost I have whenever I get a match, or the potential free gin and tonic that might come out of the incessant and mind numbing small talk I'm having to conduct. My worry is I do it because I am a part of a generation that has become over reliant on social networking apps and technology, and I've just hopped on the bandwagon, probably sat amongst many others I've swiped on Tinder.

We are now a part of a app savvy generation, a generation that appears to have forgotten the social skills it requires to maybe start a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the train, because they are too busy checking their Facebook newsfeed or Instagramming their empty coffee cup with their smart phones.

What really put this into light for me was actually my latest Tinder date, over a few harmless after work Gin and Tonics (yes, perseverance does pay off people). The guy in question I described Tinder to me as a 'not being real, it's just a really fun game', which he and his housemates like to sit in and play on during a Friday night. This guy had spent a year in South America teaching maths and science to teenagers, yet saw beginning his weekend by messaging girls on tinder with opening lines such as 'Do you know a good vet? As I'm going to smash your pussy' as socially stimulating activity. I swiftly finished my G&T, made my excuses and departed with a simple 'Happy Tindering'.... a saying that we will see across greeting cards in the window of Clintons not before long.

As well as making me extremely wary of anyone who asked me where the nearest vets is, it has made me view the whole thing more clearly. Those involved with the app are just part of one massive social interactive game, because we are too scared to play the game of real life. It's why I decided to play, flicking through tinder helped detract attention from having to think about what I'm actually doing. It allows the players to gain some form of mild ego boost, reminding them that they are attractive to the opposite sex, so everything else can be put on hold. In the end though it's very rare that anyone actually wins, and if you have done then I massively congratulate you. Tinder is the emblem of today's society that chooses to connect electronically rather than physically. Let's just hope that the cluster of people opting to stay in on a Friday night 'Tindering' stays at a minimal, or vets up and down the country are going to be filled with some extremely confused and damaged felines.