Mobile dating is a new way to approach an old topic. It has transformed how romantic relationships are formed around the world.
What Is Mobile Dating?
Mobile dating involves the use of apps on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet geared toward introducing singles to potential love interests. Users download the matchmaking apps, which may or may not cost money, then have instant access to other singles looking to meet potential partners. Anyone with a mobile device and internet access can use dating apps, but you typically must be at least 18 years old to sign up. Mobile dating is available around the world and includes special niche sites for specific populations such as seniors, the LGBTQ community, African Americans and even married people.
In a 2015 survey, Pew Research Center found around nine percent of adults in the U.S. have used a dating app on their phone. Twenty percent of people ages 18 to 24 use mobile dating apps and account for the biggest sector of the population using these apps. People ages 25 to 44. Although use isn't as prevalent, dating app usage by older users has doubled in the past few years. Men are more likely to use dating apps than women and account for around 60 percent of worldwide dating app users.
A recent survey conducted by SimpleTexting suggests dating apps are helpful in setting up long-term relationships but do not account for the most effective way to meet a life partner. Although roughly 40 percent of dating app users claim to be searching for a serious, committed relationship only about 15 percent of matches result in relationships lasting over one year. In contrast, about half of matches formed on dating apps result in fewer than two dates. While it seems dating apps aren't necessarily the best way to find love, about 13 percent of app-matched couples do get engaged or married to each other.
Risk Versus Reward
Weighing the pros and cons of mobile dating services helps you decide if this type of dating is right for you. The UK's Online Dating Association (ODA) offers tips and advice for consumers using dating apps to enhance the experience and stay safe. Their educational videos help you write a great profile, learn to weed out fake profiles and encourage safe in-person meetings. The ODA's biggest take away for mobile daters is to pay as much attention to safety as you do to the potential relationships.
Bustle cites efficiency as the most important advantage of using dating apps in the search for romantic partners. Not only can mobile dating save you time and energy, but it is also easy to use anytime, anywhere when you have a spare moment. Other benefits of dating apps include:
- Ease of access - Potential matches are easy to see and evaluate with efficient app designs.
- A quicker way to date - Instead of meeting each person for a date, you get to decide quickly if they are worth your time.
- Availability of more potential partners - With millions of users you can easily access more people at once.
- Get to know people before you meet - You're able to learn if you've got anything in common before a first date.
- Stay in your comfort zone - Mobile dating eliminates awkward in-person exchanges and unwanted advances.
- Paid services help weed out fakes and bad choices - Consumer Reports suggests paying a fee gives better quality users because the purchase makes people more invested in the product.
- Clear intentions - You let others know upfront whether you're looking for a hookup or a long-term relationship. Beyond romance, mobile dating offers a way to network - Fortune magazine says it's a good way to meet other professionals and promote a business because you have quick access to thousands of people.
Psychology Today says there are advantages and disadvantages to dating via internet and individuals must decide which carry more weight. Due to the high volume of dating app traffic, it's easy to find examples of great experiences and mobile dating horror stories. Major cons to dating apps are:
- Sites without security measures are open to fraud and scam artists looking for an easy way to make money.
- Over 50 percent of people admit to lying on their profile in terms of age, physical stature and professional status.
- Too many choices can become overwhelming and lead to wasted time with endless searches.
- It removes nonverbal cues like facial expressions and physical touch that help in determining compatibility.
- Physical safety is a concern because strangers may have access to your location. According to an ABODO study of 4000 college students, 27 percent report being harassed on dating apps.
- Most users aren't looking for love, says the ABODO survey, where roughly one-third of men and women use dating apps for entertainment only. A survey by Esquire found similar results with over 60 percent of respondents saying they use Tinder for entertainment, not to find real relationships.
Popular Dating Apps
Tinder is a free app with over 20 million users recommended for adults only and is one of the most popular mobile dating apps. Digital Trends says it has the best user interface because only people who you like can message you it features large profile pictures. Once you download the app, create a short bio and add a few pictures. Since the app is largely image-based, you'll want some good quality close-ups. After you get set up you start to see pictures with an attached name and age. Learn more about the person in the photo by tapping the image. Then you decide if you like what you see or don't think it's the right person for you. Swipe right on the screen to like someone, swipe left to pass on them and swipe up if you've got major interest. If that person also swipes you right or up then you two are a match and can message each other. Check out these helpful tips on using Tinder to make the most of your experience.
In an AskMen survey, users give Bumble an overall eight point four out of ten with high scores on value for price and quality of members. Like Tinder, Bumble is one of the most popular dating apps and uses the same format. However, what sets Bumble apart is its unique woman-focused design where only women can initiate conversations. Users need a Facebook account to get on Bumble, but the basic app is free to download. Add a brief bio and some pictures, then get to swiping. Swipe right to keep and left to discard people based on their profile picture. If two people like each other they are matched and the woman has 24 hours to start a chat before the match is lost. Guys don't just take a back seat though, they can extend up to one match per day to encourage a first move by women they really like.
Grindr claims to be the "number one free, mobile social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people." This claim is substantiated by a survey of over 2,000 gay dating app users where about 75 percent said they use Grindr. Download the app and create a new profile with your picture, information about who you are looking for and some background on yourself. You'll get instant access to hundreds of profiles near you and can click on any profile picture to see more information about that guy. Start chatting or give the profile a star to mark it as a favorite.
According to Elite Daily, this is the top app for those looking to find a long-term relationship. Unlike other dating apps, OkCupid features in-depth profiles to take relationships beyond initial attraction. The app is free and uses complex algorithms to help match singles. Once you download the app, setting up a profile takes time because you've got to complete a full survey in advance. While it takes more time to get started, the intense matching process helps you find quality dates. If you like a profile you can swipe it to look further into their profile. Messaging is free and can come from either party. All you have to do is search your matches, which are based on a match percentage and reach out to those you're interested in.
Dating Made Easy
Busy singles wanting a quick, relatively painless approach to dating, might find mobile dating is the answer. Like traditional dating, dating apps have drawbacks and advantages. It's up to you to decide if these dating tools are right for you.