Unlike traditional dating websites that often ask for height, weight, race, or education level (Hancock et al
In a reduced cue environment, results show that Tinder users use these minimal cues to show who they are, primarily via photos. They also take advantage of the controlled environment to conduct profile experiments to see how change to their self-presentation may improve their approval from others on the app. Profile choices are contemplated and often changed, as users alter their profiles in order to experiment with how reactions vary.
Tinder’s algorithm is not made public: though filtering criteria are limited, it is not entirely clear which profiles are presented to users, complicating knowing to whom users are comparing themselves
In terms of selecting matches, interviewees demonstrate knowledge of a particular set of ‘courting rules’ (Hardey, 2008 ) explicit to the dating environment. Hardy describes this as follows: ‘ … individuals have to learn how to “decode” the profiles displayed on these sites and make choices on the basis of these mediated interactions’ (p. 1112). Such knowledge could facilitate the possibility of an off-line meeting. In terms of choosing who they want to interact with, findings here show that interviewees overwhelmingly search for similar others, though a few did use the opportunity to match with those they would not usually select. This points to another inclination predominate on dating sites: Homophily, or ‘love of the same,’ is the tendency people have to seek out others like themselves. People like those who are the same age, have the same race, and possess similar educational backgrounds (Harrison Saeed, 1977 ; McPherson, Smith-Lovin, Cook, 2001 ).
In this case, filtering went beyond appearance into other identity factors, such as perceived education level and indicators of socio-economic status. , 2007 ; Lin Lundquist, 2013 ; Skopek et al., 2011 ), there are often no other indicators beyond a few photographs and a few words of text. This allows a different perspective on Tinder: Impression management is focused on that brief moment where one e time, Tinder could also be viewed as a platform that includes and excludes as we do in real life.
This paper focused on the ‘pre-match’ phase of Tinder profile construction and match selection. In relation to self-presentation, Goffman ( 1959 ) imagined face-to-face communication and talked about the reciprocal influence on actions when in each other’s immediate physical presence. Digital presentation is a fundamentally different context, and scholars have dealt with these distinctions. For example, Hogan ( 2010 ) takes Goffman’s work and applies it dating in Indianapolis specifically to online media. Hogan’s thinking sees the Tinder user as curator, and curators ‘filter on behalf of the audience … filtering implies that one can evaluate a set of things before they are presented for consumption’ (p. 382).
At the same time, the promise of physical interaction plays a role here: Leary argues that ‘people tend to be more concerned with how others view them when they anticipate future interaction with them’ ( 1995 , p. 57). Even in this pre-match stage, with a lack of interpersonal or face-to-face interaction, it seems such influence occurs on Tinder. Users are imagining who will see them, both those they want to meet and those they do not want to meet, and their desired self-presentation is important to tweak and maintain even before chatting with a match on the app or meeting them in person. In her discussion about networked privacy, boyd ( 2012 ) points out how our data ‘provides a probabilistic image of who we are based on comparisons to other people’ (p. 348).