Anyone who is familiar with East London will tell you that the area has changed fast in the last five years - warehouses being pulled down to make way for expensive flats, people moving in who don't want to party every weekend, the usual cries of gentrification. At the very few warehouse parties that still happen, you see very few people who looked like they'd be students or teenagers there. It's the older, aged 30+ remainders of the last decade, plus the usual imports of Europeans with rolled-up cigarettes.
What does this shift in demographics mean?
The millennials are coming.
Multiple studies have shown they go out less and don't stay out as late, drink less, take less drugs, and have less sex than the generation before them. They read Buzzfeed instead of Vice. They can be summarized with the deadly phrase "passive ambitious". They're more social media and business-savvy, paranoid about the lack of jobs, much more likely to start their own companies, and much more likely to live a healthier lifestyle. Are we heading towards a Black Mirror style homogenised society without a nightlife culture?
I don't know. Maybe something intangible is being lost. Our desire for it doesn't go away- it feels like more and more we look to get those same feelings from behind a screen- watching other people party on Snapchat stories and Instagram, and my own theory for the decline of nightlife: It used to be that if you wanted to meet a member of the opposite sex, you went out, drank until you had enough courage to speak to people, made friendships, swapped numbers, then went on dates. The brutal effectiveness of technology has squashed this down into a super-efficient new method. Why tire yourself out and have a hungover (with no actual guarantee you'll meet anyone, the overwhelming majority of people who go out going home alone/having met no new people), when you can use Tinder and social media to pre-validate, nurture leads (doesn't that sound brutal :( modern life, jeez), flirt to be absolutely sure, then meet up with chances of having a great connection going from something like 80% chance of no win (normal night out) to 80% chance of win (online dating). That's not the only reason young people go out and party, but watch how quickly those in relationships fall away from that lifestyle, and you'll see how big that slice is.
I only really used Tinder on my first American/Canadian tour, where every few days I'd arrive in a new city and have no-one to explore it with. I made lots of friends and ever since then have lots of people to hang out with in most towns, but I remember thinking the power that app has is insane. You look at pictures on your phone, say some words and they appear in real life. You could go on dates seven nights a week if you had enough time to invest. It's even more powerful than Uber sending a car (anyone can order a cab). Before everyone jumps in the comments, I should probably add the dark side of the Tinderization of culture (and for anyone who doesn't think this is happening, go speak to a millennial. We are all on Tinder, even if we say we "don't really use it" Most girls I know who have deleted it end up putting it back on, the ease of meeting people is just too good, and the loneliness and anxiety of modern life is just too much).
1. The volume of people on Tinder devalues everything. If you lived in a small town, there may only be so many suitable partners, so you'd want to hold on to someone special. Now, if someone says something you don't like or things get stressful, there is literally an endless amount of fit people who can replace them, just a few seconds away. This contributes to more relationships being more short-term, and being that (in my opinion) most adults (discounting: narcissists, egomaniacs, those with trauma from previous life events) want to be in relationships, this is whole lotta hurt. No-one wants to work at making things work these days.
2. A small % of maniacs (mainly men) are ruining things for everyone. As millennials listen less and less to mainstream media/morality/religion etc, both sexes can enjoy sex and hookups with less mental pressure that what they're doing is "wrong" (they still have to keep it somewhat secret as of the awfulness of slut-shaming, but every decade that passes people become freer to have fun). It has taken 20+ years, but Cyndi Lauper's prediction that "girls just want to have fun" is finally happening en masse (and it's awesome). However, the unrequested dick-pic senders (which is likely sexual assault), the sociopaths, and the possessive stalking crazies are giving Tinder a bad name, and driving people away from online dating outright.
3. It contributes to a culture of insecurity. If you're not good looking, you're going to feel insecure as you look at others (this point for both Tinder and social media generally). Also, there's a mass disconnect between what you see on the screen and what you see in real-life, which causes feelings of inadequacy and frustration. (Caveat: People in Los Angeles really are living the life they project on social media and do look as good as their social media photos)
On any given night out, a huge chunk of us is sending people updates on the fun we're having, proving we're part of nightlife, but ultimately being ever more present on social media. Social media has come from nowhere to eat up 5 or 10x the amount of time we used to spend with our friends. That number will only increase over time. If you see me, swipe right.