Capitalism, Dating Apps, and Relationships
Main Question: Are dating app companies and dating app users at cross purposes? In what ways do people s interactions and self-presentation on dating apps reflect the market logic of capitalism?
"...if you think of dating apps, what they want is your eyeballs on the app. They want you to keep swiping, because while you’re doing that, the app is collecting your data, and that’s how it makes money. The worst thing for that app is that you meet someone you really love, because then you have no interest in swiping any more. So the apps are built to be compulsive because it helps their business model to keep us lonely and isolated and continually on the lookout."
- Kristen R Ghodsee in
"There may always have been a dating market, but today people’s belief that they can see it and describe it and control their place in it is much stronger. And the way we speak becomes the way we think, as well as a glaze to disguise the way we feel. Someone who refers to looking for a partner as a numbers game will sound coolly aware and pragmatic, and guide themselves to a more odds-based approach to dating. But they may also suppress any honest expression of the unbearably human loneliness or desire that makes them keep doing the math."
- Ashley Fetters and Kaitlyn Tiffany and in
These two quotes will frame the discussion. In particular we will explore the following questions.
- What is the business model for these dating apps, i.e., how do they make money?
- What could these apps do to incentivize you to engage in behaviors that help them make a profit?
- Are these behaviors consistent with those that are helpful in finding a relationship?
- How would you design a dating app if you were not motivated by profit?
- The Dating Market is Getting Worse
- How Does Tinder Make Money
- The business of dating apps How do swipes actually make money?
- Pew Research Center: collection of results on how people today view dating
- Attraction Inequality: Takes the logic of dating market to explore some dark ideas about sexuality.