The lack of profiles on Tinder turns out to be its most salient feature
It means there isn’t a lot to distract you from your mission of swiping through as many suitors as possible, but it also means when you do get a match, attempts at conversation can prove unfruitful. A brief sampling of the typical first messages on Tinder:
To find any lasting chemistry on Tinder, we have three suggestions. The first two: Message lots of people, and try your darndest to ask interesting questions. The third, born of anecdotal data, is to be one of those users who swipes right on everyone. According to the Awl’s Tinder glossary, these people are known as “indiscriminate narcissists,” but you can’t argue with results. Yes, Tinder is all about chemistry, but it turns out chemistry is a volume business.
Like many apps, Tinder verifies your identity through Facebook, and you can see how many friends you have in common with each of your prospective matches. Hinge, which borrows most of its interface from Tinder, takes this one step further – you can only see people with whom you share a mutual friend. Another difference: Instead of an infinite stream of users, you only get a certain number per day. Once you’ve swiped through them all, you’ve got to wait another 24 hours for the next batch. (Like a pyramid scheme, you get better rewards – in this case, more matches per day – the more friends you have using the app.)
Born out of technological necessity (in the early stages, most users only had a few friends-of-friends using the app) this limiting factor goes against the general trend of dating apps – and of the infinite stream of the web itself. Whether on purpose or not, Hinge has eliminated one of the downsides of online dating, that sense that, in a bottomless ocean, there is always a better, prettier fish to be found.
The first has to do with the social minefield that comes from a dating pool only made up of one’s friends-of-friends
Still, this reporter has not yet met anyone who has ever gone on a Hinge date. We have two theories as to why. It’s hard to tell whose friends are off-limits. Are your ex’s friends? Your high school crush’s friends? Your brother’s friends? The kids you haven’t spoken to since high school? If someone is theoretically close to you in a network of friends and you haven’t met them yet, there might be a good reason why.
The second has to do with Hinge’s profile – or lack thereof. Like Tinder, Hinge connects through Facebook, but it takes this connection a step further. Your only pictures are your Facebook profile pictures. Your only interests are the Facebook pages you Like. This has the curious effect of making everyone less attractive: Most people’s Facebook profiles, scrubbed by years of exposure to grandparents and employers, are flatter, less interesting than their online dating profiles. In general, everyone is less attractive. Hinge announced in February it would soon roll out greater profile customization, but as of mid-March those changes had not arrived. Once it does, maybe more Hinge users will be able to get their foot in the door.
Lulu is not a dating app, per se. Instead, it’s what creator Alexandra Chong calls “a Yelp for boys.” Women can sign up to review their male Facebook friends, whether they’re platonic BFFs, one-night stands or long-term boyfriends – and the whole thing is anonymous. (Until very recently, men had to opt out of being rated on the app; any dude with a Facebook profile was fair game. Now, because of privacy concerns, Lulu has changed to an opt-in system excellent site to observe, wiping many reviews from the app.)