This blog post is the "back story" to student contributor, Emily Curl's Journey article: Finding Your Match: There's an App for That

I met someone in Switzerland. We said hi, did the usual where-are-you-from conversation, and parted ways. Both fully aware that we would never see each other again.

And maybe that would be the case ten years ago, but now technology has changed everything.

A month later, we became friends on Facebook exchanging contact information. A long distance friendship was now at the tip of my fingers. That’s the magic of technology.

Being a millennial, it should come as no surprise that my phone is always glued to my hand. Having instant access to the Internet, emails, contacts, and text messages it only makes sense that the next step in the process would be to integrate technology into your love life.  

Apps like Tinder, How about We, and Ok Cupid are springing up in conversations with so many of my friends that I kept becoming more and more intrigued with this idea of meeting a significant other just by the swipe of a finger or the tap of a button.

Diving Into Research

After committing myself to this idea of doing a story on a changing dating world, I began to research. It was all seemingly easy to find. Research and studies have been done left and right to keep up with the growing trend of online dating and dating apps. People using and downloading these apps have made a striking increase over the past year.

So much so that there’s an app for just about anything now.

The most crucial research I found was by Pew Research Center in October 2013. I had the opportunity to do a Skype interview with Research Assistant, Maeve Duggan who delved even further into the numbers, percentages and trends. 

It was also fairly easy to find friends and peers who have used these social media apps for a night on the town or a casual coffee date. But it became a little tough to find couples that have made a long distance relationship from a dating app. After I did a little research, it was easier to figure out why. The majority of users who use dating apps to find love are between their mid-20s and mid-40s. Living on a college campus, it seemed most of the people I talked to were more in search of a casual relationship. Although I did find a few couples, some seemed skeptical to broadcast their relationship with a camera in front of them.

After speaking with countless couples on their relationship status and their online dating habits, I finally found a few who were willing to talk. For example, I spoke with a couple from the University of Florida who met on Tinder, and have been together for six months now. He even gave her an early Valentines gift of M&Ms stamped with the words “Thanks Tinder!”. So for some, happy ever after is just a click around the corner.

I had a great experience researching this story, meeting many professionals and hearing about success stories from all over. It really is amazing how much technology has changed and is integrated into our daily lives. I had so much good information that it was hard to compile a video that touched on every single aspect of this developing trend. Check out more information below of specific details on these apps I used for my story.

According to Tom’s Guide, a TechSavvy blog that documents trends happening all around the world, below is a list of some of the trendiest dating apps in the game (in no particular order) that you should be downloading.

Trendy Dating Apps 101

1. OkCupid
The app allows you to set up a profile, answer questions regarding potential matches, send messages, and scroll through potential matches. The best part? They scan for users only in your area.

2. Tinder
Tinder allows you to make quick judgments regarding potential partners. You upload a few photos of yourself equipped with a short biography. If you like someone's first impression, swipe to the right. If you’re not feeling it, a quick swipe to the left and you will never hear from them again. If you both swiped to the right for each other, feel free to chat away!

3. Grindr
Grindr is made for homosexual men that are looking to find a partner in their surrounding areas. It allows gay or bisexual men to meet up with other users. It just requires your name, a picture, and a brief bio.

4. Coffee Meets Bagel
This app highlights the importance of quality over quantity. It connects with your Facebook so you can meet friends of friends. It will send you one potential match a day and gives you twenty-four hours to decide if you want to pass or try out that match.

5. Plenty of Fish
This free dating app is one of the most popular in the world, with over 200 million users. It lets you create an extensive profile so you can find exactly what you are looking for in a user. Kids? Non-smoker? Athletic? You can find a match easily.

Staying Safe While Online Dating

With so many possible apps to download, it is hard to tell which people are being honest, and which may have fibbed on their profile. Get Safe Online is a free website that offers tips on how to best navigate a dating forum.

1. Choose your Forum Carefully
Choose a site that will protect your personal information until you feel safe enough to exchange it with another person. Also make sure that site will enforce its policies against inappropriate use.

2.  Protect Your Privacy
Do not post personal information, such as a phone number, publicly on a dating site. Do not include your full name, address or other personal information until you feel comfortable with sharing.

3. When Meeting in Person...
If you meet a connection online and want to meet in person, make sure you follow some common sense rules. Always stay in a public place, do not accept a ride from your date, stay sober, and make sure your phone is charge and turned on.

4. Protect Your Savings
Never sign up for an account that promises you online “relationships” with the intent of scamming you out of your savings. Do your research before joining an online forum.

Check out more tips here

Haven't read Emily's article about the online and mobile app dating trend yet? Find it here

About the Author

Emily Curl

Emily Curl is a Coca-Cola Journey student contributor and senior at the University of Georgia majoring in Digital & Broadcast Journalism and pursuing a minor in Communication Studies. Originally from Dallas, GA, she calls Athens home while actively learning more about the journalism field. She has also interned with WJCL in Savannah, GA, and hosts an online YouTube entertainment show.