For a moment, the end of the hookup app seemed imminent.A suggested, “Facebook’s New ‘Dating’ Feature Could Crush Apps like Tinder.” But as a scholar of digital media and sexuality, my hunch is that these headlines sensationalize Facebook’s impact on online dating ecology.“So clearly there’s something to do here.” Within hours, stocks for Match Group—the parent company to Ok Cupid, Tinder, Plenty Of Fish, and Match.com—had plummeted more than 20%.
(And it’s a far cry from the hot-or-not site, Face Mash, that Zuckerberg created while in college, before launching Facebook.) My estimation is that Facebook’s dating feature will appeal to over-40 adults—folks who will easily pivot from Facebook’s social networking service to the dating service.
New technologies typically do not simply replace old technologies—at least not immediately. The average online dater belongs to 2.4 dating sites or apps, according to the research firm Report Linker.
People tend to adopt new media while continuing to use their favorite “old” media. Being active on one app doesn’t preclude being active on another.
After all, more than a third of online daters aren’t looking for love.
The same Report Linker survey found that 34% of them are just hoping for a hookup.