Finding Love on a Smartphone: Bringing Tinder to Radio 4

Vanity Fair’s scathing expose of Tinder, branding the hook-up culture it promotes as a ‘dating apocalypse’ has highlighted just how fundamentally apps have revolutionised the way we meet partners. But would Radio 4 listeners be prepared to tell me about whether they’d been able to find love on a smartphone?

That was the question in the You and Yours planning meeting at Media City in Salford, ahead of Tuesday’s Call You and Yours, the programme’s weekly phone in version of the show. We decided, like a true online dater to throw caution to the wind and go for it.

Apps allow us to view hundreds of potential matches on our smartphones and swipe right if we like what we see, left to reject.  They make the lengthy email exchanges in “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) look almost as quaint and antiquated as Mrs Bennet’s drive to marry off her daughters in “Pride and Prejudice” (1813). If you’ve been out of the dating world, even for just a few years the whole scene may feel utterly alien, so to talk us through the basics I was joined by Sunday Times journalist Katie Glass @katieglassST  who’s been writing about Tinder since it first exploded onto scene, although she did reassure traditionalists that the ‘old school’ pick up method of a drunken nightclub snog is still alive and well.

We had a huge response from our listeners and it was overwhelmingly positive. Many people from their 20s to their 60’s felt that they’d met people they wouldn’t otherwise have and interest online can boost self-esteem even if it doesn’t develop into a relationship. Although 59 year old Sharon told of her sleazy experience of married men asking her for afternoon sex.  Charly Lester @30dates, who’s become something of an online dating agony aunt entertained with anecdotes of her online exploits and offered solid advice on how to get the best out of cyber dating.

The highlight, though was David who told us of his friends who found love when they met on a Harry Potter forum. Quidditch anyone?