Swiping the Way to Bae

A rhetorical and semiotic analysis of Tinder and its place in contemporary culture.

Kyle Parks


Undoubtedly, human interaction has been revolutionized with the advent of digital communication technologies, which caters directly to our on-the-go lifestyles. This great shift has altered the ways we find our friends and lovers, especially with the rise of dating apps. There are countless varieties, allowing consumers to find essentially any type of other desired—from a “slim” man in the “geek tribe” on Grindr, to Farmers Only, where you can find the farmer of your dreams. Within the vast selection of dating apps lies Tinder, arguably the world’s most successful. Tinder itself has risen to popularity among all demographics a sprawling generation of millennials. According to the company’s website, this popularity has culminated in 1.4 billion “swipes” and 26 million matches every day (“Press”). With this app’s profound cultural impact, it cannot be ignored; however, little scholarly research has been done on it. This is where my project comes in: just why is Tinder so popular? There are many factors, though I have separated them into two main categories: simplification and communication. These two factors have allowed Tinder to gain immense amounts of popularity by being easy and pleasing to use, as well as catering to the need in contemporary digital culture to cope with an increasingly separated world.

What you'll find:

  • Simplification drives Tinder from the apps fundamental design, to its visual appeal, presentation of information, establishment of security, and, of course, convenience. Explore “Simplification” to learn more!
  • Communication in terms of digital culture is also crucial: Tinder plays on the contemporary tendency to find significant others in digital spaces. In this sense, Tinder is a means of coping with postmodern society and the increasing sense of isolation people feel. Explore “Communication” to learn more!
It's a match!

With Tinder’s popularity still at a high, it is unlikely that the app is going away anytime soon. Through its remarkably effective design strategies that play on human nature through their visual appeal, design, and functionality, the app maintains a high level of appeal to users. Certainly virtual communication has drastically impacted the way we communicate, which Tinder also capitalizes on. Nonetheless, our human desires and inner (even subconscious) thoughts are reflected in the app. It is truly designed for the Technological Age and reflects where society is in contemporary times.

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Home Page Images:

  • Image of hands using phone: Grabowska, Karolina. 2015. Pixabay.com.
  • Image of man and woman in meadow: Pixabay user Unspash. 2015. Piabay.com.
  • "Red Pink Heart Clip Art." Clickr user Ocal. 2007. clickr.com.

Simplification Page Images:

Pixabay user Unsplash. 2015. Pixabay.com.

Tinder's logo. Property of Tinder being analyzed in this text.

Photo appearing in fake Tinder profile by Stefan Specian.

Stachowiak, Kai. March 2016. Pixabay.com.

Pixabay user Unsplash. January 2016. Pixabay.com

Communication Page Images:

Verlaan, Niek. 2014. Pixabay.com.

Tinder's logo. Property of Tinder being analyzed in this text.

Fernandes, Milena. 23 July 2015. Pixabay.com

Zimmer, Manfred A. 28 July, 2015. Pixabay.com


PixelBuddha. "Walk & Ride." 2014. Tympanus.net