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Tinder: Platform Sociological Examination

What is Tinder?

Tinder is seen as the revolutionized app that has changed how people see the 21st-century matching-making process. It is a platform for strangers to match each other and communicate online for a romantic relationship, including short-term relationships as hook-up or long-term intimate relationships. Tinder, is different from other online dating agencies, has its unique standing points (Gatter, K. and Hodkinson, K. 2016). Jessica Carbino, seen as the first sociologist to actually focus on Tinder sociology, her research has focused on how to improve and analyze Tinder usage and Tinder sociology. Today we will take you through briefly, how does this platform work from the sociological point of view. 

 Photo Illustration by Tracy Ma/The New York Times; Stocksy (ecstatic person)

What do sociologists study about Tinder?

Tinder has been a great platform for us to investigate social and self-identity. The study was trying to explore Tinder usage on adults’ primary motivations. It mainly focuses on psycho-social need (long-term relationship), casual sexual need, self-worth validation need and the trendiness of peer motivation (Sumter, S. R. et al. 2017). It has shown that Tinder is more than just a popular app, it is the modern micro-sociological way of understanding how people integrate into the digital world. Another study by Timmermans, E. et al. is trying to research why people are cheating on their romantic long-term partners by using Tinder while in a long-term relationship (2018) and how it relates to their own personality traits. Among the Big Five Personality Traits, people with a high level of openness is more likely to use Tinder and people who have relatively higher extraversion is less likely to find a long relationship on Tinder, instead of seeking short term hookup (Timmermans, E. and De Caluwé, E. 2017). 

How to use Tinder as a user?

Swipe right for likeness, swipe left for dislike. Briefly going through the picture, with about a few lines of introduction, you will be able to decide. By the end of the day, if the counterpart likes you back, boom! A match is done and you are on the journey to talk with your potential partner. As an individual, you report your preference for possible matches to the platform, as well as optional exposure of occupation, graduated schools and other social media linkage. Users would get timely notifications for swiping and deciding, especially when there is a new match. 

Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What and how does Tinder provide its services?

Operationalising platformisation: “Platformisation leads to the (re-)organization of cultural practices around platforms, while these practices simultaneously shape a platform’s institutional dimensions” (Poell, Nieborg, and van Dijk 2019, p. 6) The platform provides us the possibility to encounter people, getting the preference we set for a range of people we want to match with. Whether it’s racial preference, gender preference, age preference, or distance preference, Tinder has the power of deciding who to show, who to avoid, how much of the population in your area has. It acquires access to our location, age, gender, the mass population in the city mandatorily. It is organized through the data collection, algorithmic processing and export of the final result for better matchmaking. According to Tinder CEO Sean Rad, Tinder adopts the “Elo score”, method for leveling chess players’ skills. Every time when you swipe right or left, you create this anonymous voting system of someone’s desirability (Carr, A. 2016). Tinder is the determining factor of choosing who we meet and it is the clear example of Actor-network theory, connecting human and non-human assemble, technology and human, individual and society without a clear binary line.

Who benefits from Tinder the most?

According to a study about cyberlonliness and cyber friends and online relationship, it shows people who have lower body confidence is more likely to benefit from the online relationship (Sumter, S. R. et al. 2017). Moreover, after 2021, the dating area has changed a lot. People got stuck in homes and there is no better way to start swiping and socializing online. Dating in the age of coronavirus is hard, but more you can do is to make use of the platform. 

At the end of the day, the platform might influence you subconsciously on choices, but it can also provide relatively more options than real life. No matter what you like or do not like about Tinder, it has become a sociological matter. Tinder itself has gone from the sole match process to a much deeper social understanding—getting to know people and using technology to help build human interactions. 

The power of platforms:

What is the platform capable of? How shall we understand the impact of the platform itself on us and how shall we interact with it? Tinder working as the platformisation, subconsciously influences what we are looking for and how we are perceived by people. 

  • The platform influences how you view relationships:

Tinder as a dating platform holds the stereotypical impression of a hook-up site. This misleads a lot of young generations’ first time trying out long term relationship and imagining how the long term intimate relationship is about. The impression at first sight matters, but what matters the most in a relationship is commitment and daily interaction.

  • The platform influences on how people are seeing you:

When people are spotted using Tinder, the first thing people would assume is “desperate” for love or sex. In the 21st century, “desperate” is not a complimentary word to describe someone’s love pursuing status. Desperation is even worse than not trying at all. This creates the misleading illusion of pursuing love too hard is not attractive, which I’d consider interferes with people’s freedom of their chase for a better life.

In conclusion, Tinder as a platform has its own innovative points that we have to validate. It creates a virtual space, using human-machine interaction to help build human interactions. This is a leap forward to using technology to enhance humanity. For further understanding of Tinder and other online dating platforms, it is necessary for us to approach it from both a critical and objective point of view. At the end of the day, there are cases around us people are using online dating platforms end up in a happily ever after marriage. So my readers, don’t hesitate and start trying new things out! Your life partner might be right around the corner!




Ando, R. and Sakamoto, A. (2008) ‘The effect of cyber-friends on loneliness and social anxiety: Differences between high and low self-evaluated physical attractiveness groups’, Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), pp. 993–1009. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.03.003.

Carr, A. (2016) I Found Out My Secret Internal Tinder Rating And Now I Wish I Hadn’t, Fast Company. Available at: (Accessed: 18 November 2021).

Davis, J. L. (2016) Theorizing Affordances: From Request to Refuse. The bulletin of science, technology & society. [Online] 36 (4), 241–248.

Gatter, K. and Hodkinson, K. (2016) ‘On the differences between TinderTM versus online dating agencies: Questioning a myth. An exploratory study’, Cogent Psychology. Edited by M. Kolle, 3(1), p. 1162414. doi:10.1080/23311908.2016.1162414.

Poell, T., Nieborg, D. and Van Dijck, J. (2019) ‘Platformisation’, Policy review, Volume 8. doi:10.14763/2019.4.1425.

Sumter, S. R. et al. (2017) Love me Tinder: Untangling emerging adults’ motivations for using the dating application Tinder. Telematics and informatics. [Online] 34 (1), 67–78.

Timmermans, E. and De Caluwé, E. (2017) ‘To Tinder or not to Tinder, that’s the question: An individual differences perspective to Tinder use and motives’, Personality and Individual Differences, 110, pp. 74–79. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2017.01.026.

Timmermans, E. et al. (2018) Why are you cheating on tinder? Exploring users’ motives and (dark) personality traits. Computers in human behavior. [Online] 89129–139.



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