Campus talks about dating apps, hookups

By on October 18, 2022 0

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In the experience of some students, some dating apps are more relationship-oriented while others are used more often for dating or fun. (Devin Hayden | Daily Trojan)

Popular dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr are widely used by younger generations, including college students. A Pew Research study found that 48% of 18-29 year olds have used a dating app. The Daily Trojan spoke to some USC students about their experiences and general campus attitudes toward certain dating apps.

Dating apps are popular with young people because they are convenient, allowing the user to choose from a large number of people – or an infinite number if you pay for a premium version – and message them from your phone. Dating apps also offer users a wide range of potential interactions, such as flings, one-night stands, or even long-term relationships. Bumble has even started offering services to people who are only looking for friends or business networks.

Charlie Wasson, a junior majoring in business administration, used Tinder and Bumble at USC. He only used Tinder because it was the most popular app among USC students, but he preferred Bumble because of its unique feature: women have to make the first move.

“I liked that I didn’t have to message Bumble first, especially after I was on Tinder and didn’t get anyone, because messaging first, as a guy, is waiting,” he said.

Although he used both apps and messages with people during his time at USC, Wasson never met someone from a dating app in person.

“Sometimes you talk to people and the conversation gets a little stale or boring,” he said. “Sometimes I just slip up on people. I wasn’t very interested in using it for actual dates, it was more of a kind of time killer, so yeah, I never found myself on any of those dates.

Yaebin Park, a junior majoring in law, history and culture, also said her use of dating apps was not looking for anything serious.

“I’ve never met anyone I met on these apps,” she said. “I use Tinder just to see who’s there, but I don’t seriously use it to find someone I want to date.”

In addition to using Tinder and Bumble, Park used Hinge, though his reasons for using all three were the same: popularity.

“Everyone I hear about uses Tinder,” Park said. “And I think recently Hinge and Bumble are very popular.”

Cole Engleman, a junior accounting major, sees Tinder as more for hookups and messing around, but apps like Bumble and Hinge are more about relationships.

“My friend’s sister actually met her husband on Bumble and they just got married last year,” he said. “That’s why I was a little more interested in that one, because he actually had a successful relationship, compared to Tinder, where I had never heard of anything like that. I know another friend who used Bumble and I think he also has a longtime girlfriend.

A more specific option for USC students is the Instagram page, @usc.missedconnections. Students can send anonymous messages for attractive strangers they have seen or met on campus at University Park but haven’t had a chance to see them again, and page moderators post those messages. Wasson and Park both thought of the page as a fun idea, but only knew about it by being on Instagram. Wasson said he wouldn’t consider sending a missed connection, and Park said she felt there were too many entries in each message to want to look at the messages coherently.

When asked how they view the use of dating apps by all USC students, it seems that Wasson, Park, and Engleman all think that, most of the time, students use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble for finding hookups or killing time, though some apps, like Hinge, are better for long-term relationships.

“I think a lot of [people] just use it to log in,” Wasson said. “I don’t think people are there for long-term relationships. I’ve heard of people having success with apps like Hinge, and I have a few friends who have met their loved ones on Hinge, but I don’t know any of my friends who have met real people they date through Tinder or Bumblebee.

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