[Photo: Rex Features]
Mentally rewind five years and you’ll recall online dating was considered a last resort for those too busy or unlucky to find love. Using algorithms along with details on your personality, desires and dislikes, sites matched you up with someone who was both physically and emotionally compatible with you.
That was until Tinder came along and realised something much more important: Deep down, human beings have a habit of being incredibly shallow. While the wide majority of us do care about a prospective partner’s political views, candlelit dinners and all that, what we really want is someone who’ll get in our pants and scratch the itch, so to speak.
And Tinder has been the world’s favourite dating app ever since. Boasting 26 million matches a day worldwide, everyone knows what it is, and has at least one friend using it.
But, almost four years on, is Tinder beginning to lose its spark? Yes, 26 million matches is a massive number, but apparently over in the US, more people now have Pokémon GO downloaded onto their android phones than the app. Is it a mere craze and, a bit like Facebook or trendy facial hair, have we reached ‘peak Tinder’?
Let’s get one thing straight – people haven’t stopped using Tinder. Singletons (and people in relationships, let’s be honest) are still swiping 1.4 billion times a day, and as dating expert and life coach Jo Barnett says, Tinder’s popularity has meant that online dating has never been more normal.
“There’s less taboo with people using Tinder and admitting that they have met their partner on it,” she explains.
“Attitudes are more open as success stories are passed around and people are realising that Tinder is not just for hook ups, but for creating real relationships too.”
It’s true - there are endless success stories about long-term couples who met on Tinder. Of a man that sent his match a “hi there” text, and ended up marrying her. Of a woman who swiped right on one man’s outdoorsy, handsome photos and also eventually got hitched.
But despite its success, people are wising up to its limitations. Recent studies have linked using the app to low self esteem, and a rise in first-date rape claims mean that people are more aware of how such apps affect their safety and behaviour than ever before.
So it’s not surprising that other apps have crept up onto the scene. Double, for example, claims to be “more fun, less awkward and safer” by matching pairs of friends into double dates. Coffeemeetsbagel only allows to you ‘like’ one person a day so that you can avoid swipe-happy users.
Behavioural, media and celebrity psychologist and dating coach Jo Hemmings says that while Tinder currently still leads the way (“in terms of sheer numbers in comparison to other apps that have come along since”) dating apps’ use of technology could well decide the future of online dating.
“We already have some decent location-based apps like Happn,” says Hemmings. “And a more personal touch is also entering the scene; apps like Bumble which allow women to make the first approach, making them feel more in control.”
Hemmings says one thing’s for sure, and that’s that traditional online dating sites will dwindle in favour of app-based dating – so Tinder is safe in that respect. But what people will look for in apps of the future is another thing altogether.
“We could speculate that virtual reality dating apps will be with us soon, giving a more ‘real’ experience to meeting our match,” she suggests.
“But however technology advances – and however much investment is poured into the 'next big thing’, online dating can never legislate for that very human of feelings – chemistry!”
So for most of us, Tinder certainly isn’t over. But as it’s become a part of everyday life, it’s novelty is starting to wear off - so only time will tell as to whether it’ll be our favourite online dating app forever.
What do you think? Will Tinder remain our favourite for much longer? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.