Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Tinder Can’t Spark Real Connection

3766158693As a 25-year-old straight male, I’ve used my fair share of technology. I made it to Chimney Rock on the original Oregon Trail, I’ve played Slappers Only on Goldeneye, downloaded quite a bit of music off Napster and sent a few emails during my brief quarter-century on this planet.

As tech savvy as I am, I’ve never used technology to land a date. Sure, I’ve put up a couple of angsty away messages on AOL Instant Messenger (why else does anyone look at Yellowcard lyrics?) and arranged a couple of dinners over Facebook, but I’ve never used the Internet to really find someone.

With an influx of easy-to-use applications such as Grindr, Blendr and now Tinder, hooking up in today’s society has become a video game. Afraid to talk to someone that has been eyeing you in Lauinger Library? See if they’re on Tinder and swipe right, and maybe they’ll swipe right, too.

Now, I’m not saying these applications shouldn’t exist, and it’s obvious with their proliferation and popularity that they are here to stay. But as healthy youngsters who currently live in the last bastion where it’s pretty easy to meet new people — i.e. college — we need to have a discussion on where these applications belong in our life.

Technology has seeped into every facet of our existence. Do I even need to talk about Facebook? I’m just as bad as the rest of us — iPads have become pacifiers; 140-character tweets and updates now trump articles in The New York Times. Need I go on?

Is Tinder easy to use? Yes. Convenient? Eerily so. But do we need it? Maybe at a later point in our lives, when we’re all crouched behind our desks working jobs we’ve “sold our souls for” and our only exposure to the outside world is the commute home. Maybe then we could validate Tinder’s use. But not now.

Now is the time for sucking it up and walking up to that person you’ve been eyeing in Lau for the past six months and mumbling something that might resemble a hello. Now is the time to be a hopeless romantic because we haven’t seen how bad it really is out there. And you know what? Now is the time to get rejected, because — and not to sound like my father — it builds character.

Well, now, I bet you’re saying, “But Tinder lets us meet people we wouldn’t normally run into at Georgetown!” You’re right, and to that 1 percent of people who meet their soul mates at George Mason, I salute you. To the rest, who spend hours sending the same message to 50 people and then proceed to slowly whittle the conversations down to one or two “possible” hook-ups in the same way one would organize a March Madness bracket, I say you’ve taken the easy way out.

I could have it all wrong. Perhaps I am just like all those old farts from Generation X who still type with their eyes glued to the keyboard and still put the word “the” in front of everything that belongs to our generation. (“Is little Timmy still playing the video games? Tell him to come in for supper!”) Something tells me I’m not, though.

Because, at the end of the day, we want that connection. The hook-up culture that is Georgetown only goes so deep. We’re real people with real wants and needs; we’re not just a picture on a screen and a chat bubble with our name suspended above in unassuming font.

Remember when your mom told you to stop watching the TV and go play outside and explore the brave new world of your backyard? I’m saying the same thing here. Put down Tinder and go forth and do things the old fashioned way.

Drunk. At Rhino.

T.M. Gibbons-Neff is a sophomore in the College. He is a member of The Hoya’s editorial board.

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