Dating in the 21st Century

Story by Katy Macek, Staff Writer

Fast-paced and constantly changing, the current generation of college students are always looking for the next new thing in social media.


This month, that trend comes in the form of Tinder, a smart phone application that allows its users to put in their age, sex, location, and connect with other people around their age.


Marisa Bader, a junior at UW-Eau Claire, said she has heard about the application a few times, but since she is in a long-term relationship she has no real need for it. She said she sees how it would be appealing to her peers.


“It sounds like it’s something that’s really fast and easy,” she said. “Which I could see, being a college student, that could be a fast, easy way to meet people.”


Still, she said the idea of talking to complete strangers doesn’t attract her.


Sophomore Joel Pettingill heard about the application last year when a few of his friends downloaded it and he decided to try it.


He has used it a few times, he said, but for fun more than anything else. He has talked to a few of the other users, but nothing has ever come from it.


“It gives you some perspective on the dating scene,” Pettingill said.


For other students, the application is a new way to meet interesting people they may not otherwise have the opportunity to meet.


Eau Claire junior Kelly Mays heard about the application about a year ago from her sister, but downloaded it in August herself.


She said the idea of meeting complete strangers and finding out what you have in common is more appealing than scary, and Tinder is another way to put yourself out there.


“I like the idea of meeting people who may or may not be in the area and are all easy going enough to be on this dating app,” Mays said. “Yeah, it’s not a serious, ‘I’m going to get married if I’m talking to you’ kind of thing, but we’re young, we want to have fun. Why not?”


Mays met a guy from a different university on the application, and though she said they haven’t found a time that works to meet up yet, they are still trying to.


But it isn’t just about dating. She said she always hears people complaining about how hard it is to meet people, and Tinder is a new way of connecting with those people.  Even if it’s just to hang out, she said the application offers many different options to discover new connections.


Kelly Jo Wright, a communication and journalism senior lecturer, said that she is not surprised the application is so popular with college students because they are a generation that is used to getting information quickly, and this application does just that.


“I think it reflects our desire to do as much as possible in as little amount of time as possible,” Wright said. “We want to be able to do any task as quickly as we can, and that is especially appealing to younger generations.”


While older generations are more willing to put together a profile for a dating site like, Wright said this process may seem too lengthy for college students.


Tinder doesn’t require its users to create a full profile, just answer a few basic questions.


“It will be interesting to see if this is a fad or if this is something that catches on,” Wright said. “If it’s something that is popular with the college age crowd, or if it’s something that becomes popular in other areas.”