Over the past two decades, online dating has become very popular for people of all ages.
It seems to have claimed its place as the new way of meeting people, with individuals between the ages of 16-35 using apps like Tinder and Bumble, while people between 35-60 generally use dating sites.
So are other forms of meeting people dying?
While there are no official statistics on online dating, industry bodies claim around 4.5 million Australians use online dating each year.
In fact, Relationships Australia wrote that it’s the majority’s second preference on how to meet someone, after being introduced through family and friends. This is due to convenience and ease of access. Which also raises the question, are people becoming more introverted or just lazy?
The photo Tom uses on his Bumble account. Photograph: Tom Paton
21-year-old Tom Paton from Berwick, user of Tinder and Bumble says, “I wouldn’t say it’s laziness, but yeah it’s easier than trying to gain the confidence to speak to someone while out, only to get shut down. I think since online dating has become a thing, people have lost confidence in trying to meet face to face unless, yeah, it’s through a friend or whatever. In fact, I prefer Bumble.”
The online dating app Bumble is designed so that when two people swipe right, meaning they’re interested in each other, only the woman has the ability to make the first move.
Tom says, “I’m sick of being the one to put all the effort in. I like that it’s up to the girl.”
In fact, many people have praised Bumble for this reason. Feminism is another big topic at the moment and people have reacted well to putting the ball in the woman’s court, so to speak.
Bumble founder, Whitney Wolfe. Photograph: Whitney Wolfe
Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe wrote in a Time article, “It’s a shame that some people are afraid of the word ‘feminist’. It means equality for men and women, that’s it. Women are currently disadvantaged by archaic rules. Bumble takes the aggressive hunter expectation off the man to even things out a bit.”
The best relationships start on an equal footing and Bumble says that’s what it creates, advertising, “We’re not playing the field, we’re levelling it.”
Whitney says, “How a relationship starts will guide the tone for its entire duration. For instance, if you start dating a man and wait around three days for him to call or text you to make plans, how do you think that’s going to affect the rest of your time together? He will always have control.”
Whitney believes that this can impact who asks who out, who pays for dinner, who chooses where you go and who drives. The answer being, the man.
She says Bumble is allowing women to gain power in relationships and forcing men to change their perspective on what dating “should be”.
Woman making the first move. Photograph: Maddie Mathot
Relationships Australia wrote that almost 3.5 million people use Tinder in Australia, with Bumble figures sitting roughly around 4 million according to startup daily. So does this mode of meeting people actually work?
23-year-old teacher, Danielle Kruger from St Kilda believes it does if you’re seeking a relationship. “It works for meeting people if people go into it with positive intentions. It depends what people define as, ‘meeting people.’ Some people define that as a hook up and have negative intentions, just using the app as a game.”
Tom believes success depends on a few factors. “From having the right photos and bio, to the luck of matching with someone that you can strike a conversation with instantly. Dating apps and sites are all about first impressions. If you give a good impression straight away you can be successful, otherwise you won’t get past the first few messages. Another side of it is people’s openness to meet someone, if they go into it half-heartedly or don’t know what they’re looking for they won’t meet anyone.”
Tom thinks he’s met enough people to say he’s been successful using dating apps. However, he does believe that it’s not as enjoyable as when he’s met someone in person.
Danielle and Sebastian. Photograph: Sebastian Silva
While 26-year-old Sebastian Silva from Berwick says, “I’ve been on it for a combined 6 months and I’ve met two long term girlfriends, one of which I’m currently with. I’ve met 4 other women who I’ve gone on a few dates with but became better friends than partners. Of course it’s just like real life, if you have manners and are respectful, better results are found. In my experience though, every singe one of them have been great people.”
Sebastian see’s it as a huge positive, being able to meet someone in a less confrontational manner, with the possibility of gaining a real relationship or friendships. In fact, Sebastian found Danielle through online dating.
Danielle believes it’s a link to finding people but after you meet it’s all the same, “Online dating isn’t much different to ‘real life’ meeting situations because it’s still just regular people behind each account with a mix of intentions just like any other traditional situation. These traditional forms have worked throughout time so online dating is just a natural progression of this filled with the same successes. The means have changed but the people are still there and if the intention and willingness is there then yes it works.”
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