A recent Pew study found that 15% of Americans have used online dating sites or apps and—with the exception of people between the ages of 25–34, which has stayed level—the numbers are rising. If you're not already married, it's likely you have already used an online dating site or an app, or that you will in the future.
Tinder, by game-ifying the courtship process, has managed some staggering numbers: According to Forbes, the app sees 26 million matches a day; last year, the company claimed to have made eight billion matches; in 2014, insiders told The New York Times that the app was approaching 50 million active users. Users reportedly spend more time on the app every day than they do on Facebook.
At the center of Tinder, which allows users to swipe right on people they are interested in and left on those they are not, is the profile. The most important part of your profile is the main picture. But the short bio you pen is also very important.
"I can’t tell you how many people tell us that their bio is one of the most critical factors to consider when deciding whether or not to start messaging with someone," Tinder's in-house sociologist Jessica Carbino told Fast Company. "Especially women. Men should definitely have a bio. It’s not a negotiable thing."
"Women want to know about you," she continued. "Providing people with insight as to who you are is really critical. It also provides people with fodder for conversations."
You're dealing with both limited space (500 characters) and attention spans, so how do you write the sort of profile that will guarantee you get right-swiped?
Luckily for you, a new study released last week from Crystal D. Wotipka and Andrew C. High at the University of Iowa tells you how to make the best Tinder profile you can. Here's what you need to know.
To get their results, the authors made 316 participants look at two different accounts on the app. After participants named their preferred gender for dating, they would look at one profile and would rate the profile based on trust and social attraction—basically, if they wanted to date that person and if they thought there would be a connection.
The subjects looked at four profiles (two for each gender), one that employed a concept called "warranting," providing a very honest profile with easily verifiable information, and one that used the opposite, "selective self-presentation," meaning "how much you maximize your comely qualities and minimize the homely ones."
In the study, profiles with above-average levels of selective self-presentation received fewer right swipes. Participants told the surveyors that the profiles were not as trustworthy and seemed less socially attractive (respondents said they would be less-likely to want to spend time with them). Basically, people can tell you're full of it on apps and will respond by not selecting you. The same goes for people who come across as too-cool-for-school. The researchers found "that users generally appreciate flattering information but are less attracted to others who display an exclusively positive persona." So, as The Cut says, it's actually OK to humblebrag in this instance in order to appear approachable.
Warranting accomplishes the opposite of selective self-presentation, the researchers found. By being open, honest, including a link to a professional networking profile, and revealing in your profile what you're actually like (or faking it really, really well) gets a better response. The researchers found that profiles with lower selective self-presentation and higher warranting received the most swipes. A little sense of humility (but also specificity) go a long way. Even better if you get someone to brag about you.
Why's this? People are using dating apps because they are convenient, save time, and, you know, want to be dating. Simply: there's no time to mess around in the pursuit of someone to mess around with (or more). If you're transparent, you and your potential partner are more likely to have more direct communication. So, don't lie about your job, but feel free to show them the receipts.
You might be thinking, "Oh, I know how I can have my cake and eat it too. Profile-wise, that is." But let me stop you right there.
The profiles used in the study that were scored as having high levels of selective self-preservation and warranting created a sense of dissonance and made the profile-holder look both conceited and thirsty. So, if you actually do have a really awesome job and can back it up on LinkedIn, maybe save that for some time during the first date. Do you want to appear arrogant on a dating app? No, you do not. That's how you end up like this insane man Bumble banned earlier this summer.
Previous examinations of online dating have found that people lie on their profiles all the time. Those studies also seem to suggest that people are more willing to go out with people they meet on Tinder than they are with people they meet randomly. This makes a lot of sense: people who are on dating apps want to go on dates. But it's a double-edged sword: Even though people using dating apps are more likely to meet each other in person, they trust them less because people assume others lie in their online dating profiles.
You can read the full study by Crystal D. Wotipka and Andrew C. High here.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org