I Used Tinder in Kenya. Here Is What I Think

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At any given point in the history of humanity, a single piece of technology comes up and changes the way we view things. Think Facebook, WhatsApp, the iPhone, Tesla Motors; heck! M-pesa makes the cut too. While these pieces of technology have changed the way we communicate and travel and even manage our finances, their impact on our love lives has been somewhat minimal.

Enter Tinder

Tinder is not the first dating app or services as there have been predecessors such as Match.com and competition from other services such as Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel and others. The sheer casualness of it is mind boggling. Dating/ meeting people using technology involved long tedious process of having to fill out forms talking about your interests, likes, wants, dislikes  and most  importantly adding photos of yourself. The dating site would then use its proprietary algorithms to analyze who in its database is close enough to what you want.

This would then be followed by a never ending string of push emails asking you to either upgrade to premium to view more options or sending you photos of people you were not likely to date.  Locally, dating sites were for the select few. Used by expats and tourists trying to score local flames or the vice versa. Tinder brings down the entire process to one thing: Do i want you?

My Tinder Tales

I set out to meet new people using the service. Disclaimer: I am not doing badly in terms of my love life. I am a lover of Technology and much of it revolves testing products like Tinder :-P. So I downloaded the application from the Google Playstore, completed the installation and was ready to go.  Tinder uses your existing social networking data from Facebook to locate people in the immediate vicinity, tell you a bit about them, whether you have any friends in common and (most importantly) show you a picture.

sign inSo after signing up with my Facebook account, I had 500 characters to talk about myself, a difficult thing really.  After painstakingly choosing five photos that I thought were good enough, my Tinderverse begun. Tinder searches for people within your location using the application and broadcasts the photos on your screen. In most instances, a user merely sees a photo of a potential mate and either swipes left (“No thanks”) or right (“I’m interested”). If both people swipe right, “It’s a match!” and the users can message each other. I was presented with an array of around 15 photos more like a deck of 15 photos to shuffle through and decide who is “Hot or Not”. I liked a few, passed the rest.

Its A Match!

Its a matchThings is, for you to communicate or chat with the other user, they have to like you too. I was a little worried by the amount of matches and replies I was getting which was low than should be on normal dating sites.  Anyway, i got a few likes here and there and the meeting new people begun. I must admit Tinder use in Kenya is yet to pick up as many of the potential mates were foreign.

My first Tinder Match! The conversation ranged from what I sought from the app to which I gave hackneyed answers. My second Tinder match was so brazen, she could literally put Cameron Diaz to shame. Within no time, I had loads of matches, six, seven and currently 12, thanks.  I am still not sure how long I will keep this game of musical chairs going. Sorry I digress.

According to Tinder, it makes about 13 million matches per day, and  is about 40 percent female. Women swipe left 84 percent of the time, and men swipe left only 54 percent of the time.  Tinder also has Tinder Plus, a premium monthly subscription service that allows users to undo swipes, browse for matches in other cities, and avoid advertisements.

Will I keep using Tinder? Yes! swiping left is the best feeling ever only seeing Joffrey Baratheon die in the Game of Thrones comes close.  Will I export my escapades to other platforms? Unlikely. Will I meet my Matches? Should I? But one thing’s for sure, if only to whet my curiosity of my performance at getting matches, I will keep Swiping.

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