Dating apps are the stupidest thing we’ve ever done with technology


For the last week and a bit I’ve been seeing tweets about an app called sixwinks.

Developed locally by Streamertail Systems the app bills itself as an anonymous way for you to let your crush know that you are interested in them.

Except it doesn’t do that. It asks you select six of your contacts which it then proceeds to send a text message to imploring them to download the app to find out who winked at them.

Basically the 2017 equivalent of sending anonymous “love letters” in high school. Sure it might have seemed cute back then but it was childish then and would be childish today.

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What makes 6winks worse is that you need to wait 24 hours before you can send more winks. If this was a dating app (the word ‘crush’ is referenced several times on the website) why is it so difficult to cast my net wider? Even worse, I need to have the person’s number to wink at them.

I’m not sure about everybody else but I’m not one to just plaster my phone number everywhere in hopes my ‘crush’ finds it? And even then I’d hope the person who has my number would have the strength of will to – you know, text me.

To its credit sixwinks says that the app shouldn’t be used for bullying but in this day and age I treat every text message I receive that contains a link with caution.

If I received a wink from you I would never know because your number would be blocked and the message deleted immediately. I’m just paranoid like that.

I downloaded the app a few hours ago and it has since been deleted.

Adding tinder to the fire

When you say “dating app” the first thing folks think of is Tinder. Aside from the stupidity of swiping on photos and hoping that person swipes as well the app is terrible.

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Unless you’re running the app on a premium smartphone you can expect the app to crash and behave badly during extended “swiping” sessions.

When I was actively using the app it didn’t even notify me that I had matches unless I opened it.

Aside from that Tinder is simply the worst way to get to know somebody, in fact all dating apps are a terrible way to get to know somebody.

The reason? We put the best version of ourselves up for people to look at and why shouldn’t we. We are animals trying to tempt a potential mate with our plumage after all.

But humans are smarter than birds (debatable given there is a large orange in the White House) and we are masters of manipulation which is why so many Tinder dates sound more like horror stories than fairy tales.

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That having been said I have heard some good stories about folks that have met the perfect person online but those seem to be the exception not the rule.

In addition to the terrible humans dating apps are often the playground of bots playing on the sensitivities of users.

Speaking from experience these bots seem real enough but once the conversation reaches a certain point a link to an external website is sent through. Having never clicked these links I can’t speak to what they contain but given the breadth of cybercrime it can’t be anything good.

Humans are more complex than an algorithm can fathom

What I hate about Tinder is that it shows me people it thinks I will get along with but Tinder knows nothing about me aside from my rarely updated Facebook profile.

Tinder does use an algorithm based on your Elo score (the more swipes you get the higher your ranking) to match you with a potential mate but what if my ideal partner has an Elo score of 10 while my inactive account gets me an Elo score of 2 or whatever it actually is.

Beyond that when you match with somebody you need to convey all the intricacies of your personality to them over a few text messages. Say one thing that gets misinterpreted and your shot at love might be gone.

Dating apps combine the two worst things for dating: text-based communication and anonymity.

Over and above that you need to fork out cold-hard cash to unlock features such as being able to see who likes you (Tinder Gold) or view more than a set number of people everyday (Tinder Plus among others).

Dating is meant to be easy, fun and enjoyable. In 2017 however it feels like dating has been reduced to binary code, black and white, and oh look, Tinder is updating again.

Maybe I should just start meeting people in real life again. It would be cheaper than the data I use swiping nonchalantly at my smartphone.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Kevin Simmons]

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