I remember being a 15-year-old kid on Myspace, with all of the worry that surrounds getting into a sticky situation after agreeing to meet up with someone on the site. As society became more comfortable with the digital aspects of our everyday lives, it is more acceptable for people to meet up with someone that they have met online or through an app.
I spent a week on Tinder, Kik and OkCupid to check out the world of digital dating. Tinder and Kik are among the most popular chat apps, and OkCupid is a popular social and dating website (that now has an app). All three of these are free to download and use, but OkCupid has some features that can only be accessed by paying to upgrade to an “A-list User”.
Tinder uses GPS and your current location to find people around you who also use the app. You can swipe their picture to the left if you’re not interested, or to the right if you want to chat. The interface is easy to work with, and the features are easily identifiable. There are a large variety of users on Tinder, and users have the option to change the distance, age range and gender of the potential matches that the app finds. If you’re not interested in someone and swipe left to pass, that person won’t know. Tinder only notifies you if you and another user have both swiped right on each other. Tinder’s most prominent disadvantage is the minimal profile layout.
Unless someone has written out their autobiography in the “about” section, the whole getting-to-know-you thing is up to you.
Kik is all around less automatic than Tinder and OkCupid, because even though the app can import your contacts who also use Kik, you have to manually search for new users by their username. It’s a convenient app to use for simple chat functions, similar to texting. In 2013, when chat apps were starting to gain momentum
, parents became concerned about Kik and what their kids were using it for. Now, it seems many users are posting “Kik me” followed by their username on their other social media platforms.
The majority of the people I encountered using OkCupid seem generally more serious about getting to know someone, whereas on Tinder it was not uncommon to skip to the part about hooking up after a bit of small talk. OkCupid users seemed generally more mature and had a higher age range of users than both Tinder and Kik. The site allows you to fill in answers to a lot of profile and interest questions that allow for a decent snapshot of what that person might be like. OkCupid emails you every time someone messages you, likes your profile and for other miscellaneous notifications.
The emails can be a little overwhelming, but the feature can be turned off or adjusted. The OkCupid app may work better for those who think push notifications are less inundating than emails. When viewing a profile, OkCupid lists two percentages that estimate how much of a match or enemy the person may be, based on differing interests. This is a potential disadvantage. It’s possible to have a short, boring conversation with someone who is a 75 percent match, and have an ongoing, energetic conversation with someone who is 75 percent enemy.
Kik stayed more dormant than the other two because it did not automatically find people near me or with similar interests. Not only is Tinder’s GPS function more convenient than figuring out someone’s Kik name and searching for them, but it also allows for a more consistently active experience, there are always new people to browse. If you’re looking for a quick way to connect, maybe to meet some new friends or to finally have that one crazy Friday night with someone you just met, Tinder may be a download to consider. If you want something that goes a little bit further, with a better foundation for actually getting to know someone, OkCupid is the better way to go.
Collegian Staff Reporter Haliegh McGill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.