Jaclyn Jacobs had just gotten out of a tough relationship.
The biochemistry and microbiology junior decided she did not want anything serious, but wanted some intimacy, so she sought out Tinder, a phone app typically used for hooking up and one-night stands.
“I was embracing the stereotype of Tinder and just rolling with it,” Jacobs said. “I was kind of just busting through it. … I very much went into it with the mindset of ‘this isn’t anything serious,’ every single time.”
The app allows users to match with others by liking them, or swiping right. If a user wants, he or she is allowed to message whoever they match with and go from there. Sometimes users will meet up once or twice and then end things, no strings attached, but some find romantic relationships.
For Jacobs, though, any time the other party began getting too serious, she ended things.
“I didn’t know how to actually initiate it, but when (someone) was forward with me…I didn’t know how to deal with this,” Jacobs said. “Then I got scared and got too busy with school and stuff and peaced out.”
However, her and a few of her friends used it to just talk to people or increase their social sphere.
“It’s more of a thing where they just talk to people, (it’s) more like a way to talk to guys in different fraternities and go to parties and stuff like that,” Jacobs said. “It’s more getting to know people in all sorts of different ways thing than a ‘I want to find my next boyfriend.’”
When strategic communications graduate student Dakota Ratley set foot in Norman for school, he didn’t know anyone.
Instead of moping about, the then-public relations freshman found friendship and solace in Tinder.
Ratley also used Bumble, a similar app to Tinder, but differs in that women are required to message men they match with first within 24 hours of the pairing. He made friends from that, too.
“I think one of the keys (the apps) is to not take them too seriously,” Ratley said. “I mean, there are going to be people who are looking for relationships.”
According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, 27 percent of 18-24 year olds use online dating, a 17 percent increase since 2013.
The research also found that two-thirds of those who used online dating actually went on dates with people they met online.
In an effort to help users meet people for platonic purposes, the apps made a few modifications.
In July 2016, Tinder released “Tinder Social,” which allows groups of friends to match with other groups of people while going out. The update has since been removed from the app, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t have accounts on Tinder purely to find friends.
Although Tinder took their social specific avenue away, Bumble, one of Tinder’s competitors, added “bumblebff,” but they didn’t stop there.
At the very beginning of downloading Bumble, users are able to select who they are looking for first: dates (known as “bumble”), new friends (known as “bumblebff”) or a network (known as “bumblebizz”). The app assures users that, “you’ll only be show to people looking for the same thing as you and you can always change your mind later.”
According to Bumble’s website, the company received a multitude of requests to make a friend-finding feature on the app, so they did.
However, Tinder and Bumble are still not regarded as a typical or serious way to meet significant others and are far less taboo — that is left to websites like eHarmony, OkCupid and PlentyOfFish.
“With the latter two, I think there’s a little bit of a taboo for them since those are strictly looking for relationships,” Ratley said. “A lot of people would think that if you’re on those then you can’t find somebody in the real world. I think with Tinder and Bumble and kind of behind the genius of marketing those is that they’re marketed as more casual.”