Dating Apps in the Pandemic

After gaining inspiring inputs in the morning lecture, we started with a generic brainstorming session in our group in order to identify a topic we want to investigate during the week. We chose a pragmatic approach by looking at the variety of topics that is covered by the papers each of us wrote. Given the condition that a link to the current pandemic needs to be given, some subjects appeared to be more suitable than others. As a result an interesting topic with high relevance to our current situation evolved: location data. However, soon we noticed that the topic of location might leave us with some troubles as the subject matter is quite broad. That’s why we deep-dived individually into research on devices, technologies and topics around „location“. We identified three different types of Apps that make use of location data and are particularly important in the context of the Corona pandemic at the same time: food delivery apps, contact tracing apps and dating apps. Finally, we decided to explore the topic of dating apps, such as Tinder or Bumble, as an example for reciprocal organization of humans and technologies. We believe that the topic offers potential to reveal interesting insights into the way how human needs, dating behavior and the formation of relationships are impacted by the pandemic.

We want to approach to the topic through various research methods. First of all, we want to find out what it does to people when they can now choose freely and how it affects social and sex life. Next, we would like to focus on the difference in the use of dating apps in the current situation and what drives the need of users? To find out, we want to move into the field ourselves, i.e. register in an app, as well as interview friends and acquaintances with dating app experience.

The global dating apps’ use has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. At first glance it may seem surprising, since everyone is required to adhere to the social distancing rules. Although, in fact we found a few reasons why Dating Apps are  popular in particular nowadays. 

First of all, the simple fact that we are supposed to stay at home gives us more free time that can be devoted to dating. Taking into consideration the newly introduced video call features, the online dates are actually viable now. 

Secondly, the current circumstances expose us to loneliness -the quarantine, remote work, no social gatherings, closed social venues. Dating apps are a perfect way to seek closure with others, even if it is with strangers. In extreme lonely times it can perhaps be a mere tool to find a talk-buddy, not necessarily a romantic relationship. 

Finally, pandemic is characterised with huge uncertainty. Vast amount of people lose their jobs or have to cancel their future plans. This constantly changing environment may potentially bring a lot of anxiety. Dating apps are tools for seeking intimacy in a very structured, control and safe way. The swiping activity empowers you to chose among potential new acquaintances, and the popular “unmatch” feature allows for an immediate exit from any uncomfortable situation.