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Hinge – Optimizing Strong Triadic Closure Through Online Dating

Meeting people via dating apps is becoming increasingly status quo, however there are several apps that mainly focus on encouraging hookups between two parties, instead of fostering connections based on mutual friends or mutual interests. For example, Tinder, an incredibly popular app, brings people together based on a user’s Facebook profile picture and swipes to indicate if there is mutual attraction or not. Blendr is another dating app that primarily uses geographic location as a way to promote hookups. These types of apps undoubtedly bring people together, but there is no guarantee that there is any other social overlap between the two parties involved. Typically, the underlying common interest between the “couple” is a desire to hook up.

Hinge is an up and coming mobile dating app that only matches people who have mutual friends. This way, the user can be sure that the person he or she is meeting up with is safe and sane. There have been several cases of inappropriate behavior by men and women through apps like Tinder and Grindr because of the sense of social anonymity, but Hinge prevents this.  The app was launched in 2013, and has gained more and more traction with urban millennials. To use it, people sign in through Facebook and select their preferences, and are then matched up with people. In fact, Hinge has a unique algorithm that enables it to give its users a different list of up to fifteen potential matches every day at exactly noon.

This application is somewhat revolutionary as a dating site. The principle of strong triadic closure states that if person A has a strong relationship between B and C, then both B and C should have an edge (either strong or weak). In the world of dating sites, let’s rework the definition to say that if person A has a strong relationship between both B and C, and B and C are both single, heterosexual, and opposite genders or B and C are both single, homosexual and the same gender, then there should be an edge between B and C. A strong tie could be between two people who are dating, or have dated in the past. A weak tie could be between people who never dated, but were nonetheless matched up at some point in life. An example of this could be between people who are simply unattracted to each other. Matching people together based on their mutual friends effectively uses the principle of strong triadic closure to form relationships.

Interestingly, the majority of dating sites do not use mutual friends as a criterion for bringing people together, and Hinge is one of the first sites to do so. One could argue that it is a combination of a dating site and a social network because it only matches you to those in your expanded social network. In the past year, the app has made more than three million matches. As Hinge increases in popularity, this number can only be expected to increase.

Links:

http://www.boston.com/business/2014/08/15/hinge-the-new-tinder/DzFRArebQUjwjbMLHO8VgI/story.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/fashion/hinge-a-dating-app-introduces-friends-of-friends.html?_r=0

http://hinge.co

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