Swipe Right For Love

A closer look at online dating and romance in the digital age. 

It’s like shopping for a date in a grocery store.
Photo credit: Santeri Viinamäki

   In today’s era, it has become increasingly harder to find the time to make that special romantic connection. Juggling a full-time job, full-course load and homework on the side? The real modern miracle is how anyone can find the time to sleep and maintain a social life, much less funnel additional energy into finding “The One.”
   Though it may seem like everyone is either getting engaged or married, studies have shown that the number of people in committed relationships are actually in decline. In fact, according to Gallup, an analytics company, the percentage of young adults between the ages of 18 to 29 who are single and live alone has risen from 52% to 64% between 2004 and 2014. 
   For those stuck at home, or at work or who just have not had any luck in the dating arena recently, technology may have the solution for you.  
While online dating may come hand-in-hand with some stigma, dating websites are making an effort to rebrand themselves. eHarmony.com proudly boasts that 438 marriages per day are due to their services, a whopping 4% of all marriages in the U.S. 
    Even with those great statistics, college students on a budget may still prefer an application that does not require a monthly payment. Where eHarmony charges $57.95 for the first three months, sites like OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and Bumble cost nothing but your time and attention.  
They offer online quizzes for better matches, direct messaging, and a chance to build the online romantic platform you’ve always dreamed of. OkCupid states that over one million downloads of its application are installed weekly with an average of 100,000 people online at any given time. 
   Those who prefer less of a full-fledged biography and more bite-sized information can find their other halves on Tinder, a slightly more notorious but nevertheless popular application. So popular in fact, that they have single-handedly popularized the phrase “Swipe Right,” a term referring to how a user decides that he or she likes a profile based on a few pictures and a tagline. 
   These applications have made a world of difference for the young and hopeful but perhaps the demographic it has most affected are members of the LGBT community. Rachel Cushman and Shane Kimball, both students on the Palm Beach Gardens campus, had some choice words to share on the matter.  
   Regarding specific dating applications, Cushman suggested Tinder or a lesser known app called Her. Her is a dating application “made for LGBTQ women, by LGBTQ women. According to Cushman, “Her is cool because it’s also a social app to meet other queer people for friendship as well as dating and networking.” This was echoed by Kimball who said that “apps like Tinder and Her are more social, and you have the opportunity to meet people to form a lot of different relationships. The only con is the limited amount of swipes and likes you have.” 
    Cushman went on to expand on how online dating has had an impact on the LGBT community, stating that, “Online dating makes the otherwise invisible people in the LGBT+ community more accessible and helps raise awareness of the people in your area.” “The LGBT community don’t always feel the safest in dating environments so online dating has opened both a local and global window for members to have almost a safe haven,” says Kimball, presenting a new way of looking at online dating which is usually regarded as somewhat risky behavior. 
    All things considered, online dating isn’t for everyone. Typically it involves long distance relationships, waiting long months before meeting a lover, and perhaps not liking them in person as much as through FaceTime.  
   However, for those who are feeling a little unlucky or don’t want to be limited to people in the immediate 25 mile radius, the World Wide Web has got you covered. 

Rachel Wong, Managing Editor 
Lake Worth Campus