Today we discussed about how we live inside of media and how potentially media is used to make a change in real life. Social and mobile media has changed how we keep contact with our loved ones, but also how we meet new people. But does it distort our view of relationships? Tinder and Grindr are both mobile apps with which you can search for a date, a companion or, as many claim, casual sex. Tinder, designed for the heterosexual demographic, was launched quite recently, in 2012, while Grindr, a dating app for gay men, has been around since 2009. Compared to dating and matchmaking sites these apps have changed the perspective since they use satellite tracking and can tell its user if other app users are located nearby. Basically you can browse profiles and rate them with a sweep of your finger on your mobile screen.
Here’s a parody of two guys who take Tinder into real life. There quite a few of these kinds of parodies on YouTube, but I chose this one since it was in my view to wittiest. I think the video illustrates in a funny manner how often there is a disconnect with how we interact online with other people compared to “real life”.
Like all online dating, Tinder and Grindr offer us hundreds of possibilities daily to make snap judgments of other people. There’s been some discussion if these kinds of apps distort our views of dating and relationships and make us more shallow (here’s’ a story on the topic in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/02/grindr-sex-relationship-intimacy). Grindr, especially, has confronted controversy since it has been observed that some of its users use racist and homophobic speech on their profiles or have set different kinds of racial features as their “sexual preference”. Especially in the gay community which is constantly struggling with issues of tolerance, this has been seen especially insulting and a technology that, at worst, could be encouraging hate speech.