Screened Intimacies: Tinder and Swipe Logic. Post Info

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Carolina Cambre, Concordia University, Sir George Williams University, 1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8, Canada. Email: [email protected]


This post seeks to enhance discursive buildings of social link through technologies with a study of the recommended and assumed intimacies with the Tinder application. In the first 1 / 2, we ethnographically examine the sociotechnical characteristics of how consumers browse the software and occupy or fight the niche roles motivated of the graphical user interface feature of swiping. Inside last half, we offer a discussion associated with the effects for the swipe logic through post-structural conceptual contacts interrogating the ironic disturbance of intimacy of Tinder’s user interface.


In 2021, the after that 2-year outdated Tinder got recently been acclaimed by moving rock mag as having “upended the way single people connect” (Grigoriadis, 2021), inspiring copycat programs like JSwipe (a Jewish relationship software) and Kinder (for children’ play dates). Sean Rad, cofounder and President of Tinder, whose application seems to gamify the search for lovers using place, graphics, and information, had meant that it is “a simplified online dating app with a focus on images” (Grigoriadis, 2021). The name itself, playing on a youthful tentative term Matchbox plus the stylized bonfire symbol that accompanies the brand title, insinuates that once customers discovered a match, sparks will certainly travel and ignite the fires of love. In a literal awareness, something that could be ignited by a match can be viewed tinder, and also as as it happens, not only consumers’ time but additionally their unique profiles really are the tinder is used. As we will check out here, this ignescent top quality may no much longer feel limited to circumstances of intimacy fully understood as closeness. Rather, tindering relations might imply that even airiest of associations was flammable.

In american conceptions of intimacy, what-is-it that Tinder disrupts? Generally, intimacy had been recognized as nearness, expertise, and privacy from Latin intimatus, intimare “make known” or intimus “innermost” (“Intimae,” n.d.). However, we question if the idea on the intimate as a specific type of nearness (and length) has become discursively modulated and interrupted through the ubiquity, immediacy, and velocity of relationship given by Tinder. Has the nature of closeness ironically welcomed volatility, ethereality, airiness, speed, and featheriness; or levitas? Is it through this levitas that intimacy is actually paradoxically getting conveyed?

In the first 50 % of this informative article, we discuss the limitations and likelihood provided by the Tinder app as well as how they are taken on by people, whilst in the second half we talk about the swipe reason through conceptual lenses of Massumi’s (1992) understanding of molarization and Virilio’s (1986) dromology. We examine web discourses, interactions within the cellular relationships conditions, meeting data, and user interfaces (UIs) to interrogate that which we understand as a screened closeness manifested through a swipe reasoning on Tinder. For all of us, the word swipe reason represent the rate, and/or increasing viewing rate urged of the UI of your application, and that most rate that surfaced as a prominent feature associated with the discourses analyzed both online and off-line. Throughout, we have been aware of just how intimacy has been negotiated and expanded through online tactics; we trace promising discursive juxtapositions between level and exterior, solidity and ethereality, and temporally between extent and volatility, uncertainty, and motion. Appropriate news theorist Erika Biddle (2013), our company is thinking about just how “relational and fluctuating areas of attraction . . . take part on an informational airplanes” and work to “produce new types of social regulation and subjectivization” (p. 66). We, therefore, engage the microsociological facet of the “swipe” gesture to build up some ideas around what we should situate as screened relations of closeness to highlight areas of increase, ethereality, fragmentation, and volatility. We use processed to accept the mediatization and depersonalization that’s promoted resulting from the speed of profile-viewing enabled because of the swipe reason and therefore as a top-down discursive burden to intimacy. On the other hand, we accept the number of choices of getting meaningful contacts the spot where the affective signals behind consumers’ screened intimacies can cause ventures because of their very own bottom-up gratifications.

While other online dating software bring afterwards included similar swipe routine, we capture Tinder as exemplary for a few factors: 1st, their appeal: a 2021 estimate promises 50 million folks have signed towards the provider (Guiliano, 2015); second, it’s a good instance of a location-based real time matchmaking (LBRTD) software that delivers affordances for self-presentation; 3rd, because we believe you will find a necessity to continue to critically examine just how discursive and algorithmic regulatory events are related. Contained in this exploratory period, we desired a non-exhaustive, empirical micro-study in order to build some grip in the area.


Triangulating interview information, person observance, and a study of prominent discourses from broad range of root mentioned previously let the theme of swiping to emerge. Appropriate Foucault’s (1978) guideline of “the tactical polyvalence of discourses,” we understand discourse as a multiplicity of details “that can come into gamble in several methods” (p. 100). And since we keep “discourse as several discontinuous segments whoever tactical features are neither consistent nor steady,” (Foucault, 1978, p. 100) we decline the sections between approved and omitted discourse in order to accept mid-range discursive likelihood like divergent narratives and story-lines, and discourse-coalitions or actors grouped around sets of story-lines (Bingham, 2010). More specifically, we study a specific story-line, regarding the swipe reason, within a discourse-coalition.

By examining this gestural ability pertaining to closeness, this post contributes to the expanding literary works on hook-up software and screen-mediated intimacies. We situate this facet of the user interface (UI) and user experience style (UED) within bigger facets of the working featuring on the app within our vital conversation. Our very own you can find out more original 6-month person observation of mobile image-sharing ways provided you ethnographic knowledge throughout the particular tips hook-up apps encourage standardised self-presentation through selfies, photos, brief text, and vocals recording (HelloTalk) through workings of UI. Besides direct observance, eight unrestricted face-to-face interview with Tinder consumers (heterosexual guys [4] and females [4] aged 19–43 many years) comprise conducted in Paris (translated from the writers). All participants volunteered responding to a phone call on Tinder for participation.

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