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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Technology

Students apprehensive about dating apps


Gone are the days of nervously walking up to your crush and asking to grab coffee. The usage of smartphone dating apps has taken off, and they are connecting college students on campuses across the country.

Apps such as Tinder, Twine, Zoosk, Skout and Tagged are becoming increasingly popular. They enable students to sit back and find a date without having to fill out lengthy questionnaires, give too much personal information or feel any pressure.

Most of these applications match people by their ages, interests on Facebook and the GPS location on their smart phones and enables them to meet up almost immediately after connecting through the app.

Mobile analytics firm Flurry said a large percentage of dating app users are college students. Almost half of the users of dating apps for Android and Apple are college students between the ages of 18 and 24.

Social media expert and assistant professor Temple Northup thinks Twine is a fun and interesting experiment but isn’t sure it will make it in the long run, compared to regular internet dating sites.

“The first hurdle it has to overcome before it could ever begin to compete with regular internet dating sites is to have a large user base,” Northup said. “At this point, not a lot of people are on Twine compared to other dating websites, so there might not be many matches out there for any given individual.”

Northup said the second hurdle is making matches for people based on what they like on Facebook. He believes that there are many people who like Facebook pages but perhaps wouldn’t use that information in choosing their next mate.

Corporate communication senior Ashley Burns said although she has used Zoosk, she prefers online dating and probably wouldn’t use that particular app again.

“I didn’t meet anyone. It just had lots of people who were looking to hook up and not for a serious relationship,” Burns said. “I might use another dating app as long as I can find one that seems safer.”

Other apps, such as Lulu, have taken smart phone dating to a new level. Lulu is centered toward women and allows them to rate and review their exes, friends and past hook-ups. It has more than one million registered users and more than 180 million men have been rated.

Not wanting to become a trash-talking app, Lulu aims its reviews to be more positive by rating guys based on their sense of humor, commitment level and life ambitions.

“I wouldn’t waste my time rating my ex-girlfriend or trying to find a date on my smart phone,” said mechanical engineering junior Jeremy Phothisane. “I would much rather meet people in person and call or text them.”

Northup believes that in order for these apps to be successful in the long run, they must define the purpose they intend to serve.

“If their primary intent is to be a fun and flirtatious tool to find people with similar interests around you, they may well succeed,” Northup said. “If their goal is to really act as a matchmaker, then I don’t think they will have long-term legs.”

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