That description comes from research scientist Justin Garcia, one of several academics who paint a dismaying picture of a world in which adults age 18-30 spend an estimated 10 hours per week on such apps, finding and engaging with potential mates in a way that’s unlike any previous generation.
As evolutionary psychologist David Buss says, we now live at a time when the photo that someone posts online “tends to swamp all the other information,” placing a more pronounced emphasis on appearance than even in the past — a shift from when people were more likely to meet in organic, in-person ways.
Sales’ reporting also includes seeking out pioneers in this field, including Tinder co-founder Jonathan Badeen, who acknowledges the game-like features associated with finding matches and hookups. It’s jarring, too, to be reminded how relatively new this all is, with the app only having begun to take root on college campuses in 2012.
“Swiped” also cites the influence of pornography, especially on young men, who — as some of the women interviewed note — use these digitally mediated hookups to find partners willing to indulge their porn-fed fantasies.
The most unsettling aspect of “Swiped,” as the experts note, is that because society is at such a nascent stage of this phenomenon, it’s not as yet clear precisely where these forces will lead — and whether those responsible have simply brought another shiny new wrinkle into the process of pairing up or, more unnervingly, opened Pandora’s box.
“Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age” premieres Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. on HBO.