2017 Research in the journal Mobile Media and Communication has investigated the motivations of different demographics for using Tinder, as well as the different ways users present themselves on the app.
The study divides self-presentation into the ‘authentic self’ and the ‘deceptive self’, dependant on the extent to which users were disingenuous in the portrayal of themselves on their profile.
They found that robust self-esteem positively correlates with an authentic representation of oneself – confident users were likely to put an accurate description in their biography.
A realistic description of a user also correlated with certain motivations for using the app, however, with users looking for self-validation being extremely likely to represent themselves accurately.
Users looking for hook-ups, friendships and relationships were likely to represent themselves accurately, whereas people using the app for entertainment did not feel the need to put their ‘true selves’ across.
Looking into the factors that predicted the different motivations (which, in turn, predicted the level of authenticity), the study found “noteworthy demographic and psychological effects on the structuration of the motives.”
There were clear gender differences, as men used the app more for hook-ups and relationships than women. Women used the app disproportionately for self-validation and for friendship.
Heterosexual users were found to have presented themselves in a more authentic fashion than homosexual, bisexual and “other” users. The study notes that these users may present themselves more honestly on specialist platforms such as Grindr.
To close, the study suggests different directions for potential future research: “A recommendable next step would be to systematically compare different countries and/or regions within a country (e.g., rural vs. urban areas) in terms of Tinder use and self-presentation.
Read the full study here.