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When it’s right to swipe right: Examining apps as the modern matchmaker

Mitch Hooper

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Illustration by Sarah Moore

When you start digging into dating apps, you’ll find mixed reactions. One Google search result will show that a study from Stanford University found online dating has become the most popular way for folks to meet. And if you scroll down a little more, our very own Ohio State University published findings that compulsive dating app users tend to be more lonely. You win some, you lose some.

The truth is you get out what you put in when it comes to dating apps. For all the arguments against them, you can’t deny the convenience they afford our busy lives. You can start the week without a date and by Friday find yourself sipping a cocktail across from a new face. And for all the arguments for these apps, your entire idea of a potential partner can be based on a few photos and icebreaker conversation starters. In other words, you truly don’t know the person until you meet the person.

Dating apps in the modern age have taken to algorithms, much like streaming services today. Instead of suggesting music in your Spotify playlist and new Netflix recommendations, it’s new faces that you might be interested in based on how you complete your profile. But that’s just half the battle. Once you connect with someone, it’s up to you to navigate these waters and land yourself a date. We’re here to help, and we talked with a couple Columbusites who use various apps about what to expect.

Two dating apps that are currently popular are Hinge and Bumble. There are many similarities between the two apps; both will ask you to fill out your profile with the gender you identify with and your sexual preferences, along with photos of yourself. Then, you’ll answer questions that serve as icebreaker conversation starters with potential matches. These conversation starters are one of the key features of both apps, as they are creative and a good basis for getting to know someone with little information. Options can range from “First round is on me if…” or “A shower thought I recently had.” This is a good place to let your personality shine. Users advise that you keep it light, clever, and avoid referencing The Office.

“I’m a diehard Office fan, but if that’s all you can put in your profile about you, I already know you don’t have a personality beyond that,” said K. Coleman, a 24-year-old female user of dating apps. “I don’t care what you are watching on Netflix.”

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Bumble differentiates itself from Hinge by serving as the Sadie Hawkins of dating apps, where women always initiate the conversation. It also utilizes the popular swipe feature where users simply swipe left to pass on someone and swipe right to say, “I’m interested!” Should you find success swiping, Bumble also features an “away” setting—kind of a pause button—which takes your profile off the market until you reactivate. For Spencer Swonger, a 29-year-old male, this feature can be less than ideal.

“What I didn’t know is when you come out of away mode, every person you matched with gets a notification like, ‘Hey, this person is back on Bumble,’ which to me sucks,” he said. “Even if I’m just casually doing it, I don’t want every person I’ve talked to to be like, ‘Oh, this guy is looking again.’”

On the other hand, Hinge takes more of a “ball is in your court” approach, where if someone likes your page, you can invite them to start a conversation. If someone comes across your feed and you are not interested, simply hit the “X” option and move right along. There’s also the “most compatible” feature, which looks at your history of likes and passes and how you interact on the app, and connects you with someone the algorithm thinks you’d really like. Additionally, your profile will eventually find its way into other users’ most compatible stream.

Swonger and Coleman both say Hinge and Bumble are the dating apps where they find themselves spending most of their time. Both picked them up after putting down Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps to date. Apps such as Tinder and its predecessor Grindr, a place for members of the LGBTQ+ community to connect for dates and meet-ups, introduced the swipe feature. Though Tinder is flooded with users, it’s gained something of a hook-up app connotation, and that is why Swonger and Coleman said they moved on from it.

“I did Tinder for maybe a week, maybe two,” Swonger explained. “With the other two, I have a lot more success meeting up with people or meeting people who are actually interested.”

Coleman said her preferred app is Bumble, because it empowers her to make connections with people that interest her. “You have to talk to them first, so it weeds out the creepy interactions, which is always nice for women,” Coleman explained. “I like the role-reversal in Bumble. While I think that men hold a significant power in the dating world, I don’t think they hold all of it.”

When it comes to actually holding a conversation on these apps, Coleman and Swonger agree: don’t play games. Swonger says he tries to keep his usage of the app to late in the day for up to 30 minutes at a time. If he connects with someone, he’ll strike up a conversation and see where it goes. Coleman echoed those sentiments and said she recognizes that when someone takes awhile to respond that you shouldn’t read into it too much, rather consider the hectic and busy lives we all lead. It’s worth remembering that these dating apps are built out of convenience, which looks different for everyone.

Swonger’s success on the apps has led him on as many as four dates a week. For him, the idea is to try to set something up in the physical world and get out of messaging mode. It’s also how he recommends new users utilize the apps. With the high volume of users on each app, the chances of meeting someone new are virtually endless. In his mind, it’s better to meet and get to know each other and then decide what—if anything— comes next.

“I actually just ran into a girl I went on a date with while I was out on another date and got a sour text from her the next day,” Swonger recalled. “But if I’m still on the dating app and haven’t deleted my profile, clearly I’m still out there.”

And that’s a good point to close this out: even with all his success, Swonger is still swiping away on these apps. The same can be said for Coleman. Both have found dates through the app and both are still searching. Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither will a long-lasting relationship. Keep swiping, Columbus. Who knows who you may find?

millennial | writer | human

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Health & Fitness

The Great Outdoors (Are Always Open): An easy scavenger hunt to ease you into nature

Linda Lee Baird

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Quarantine. Isolation. Social distancing. The words defining our historic (and historically difficult) moment are all about solitude—and we’re bound to be using them for some time to come. But getting through these long days doesn’t mean we need to be inside. In fact, even under the “stay at home” orders currently in effect, getting out in the fresh air is still very much allowed. Spring goes on springing, and the time away from schools and the office gives us the opportunity to soak it in, observe, and enjoy the changes. 

For those who have been disconnected from nature for a few years, or never connected in the first place, here’s a beginner’s guide to the plants and animals you may see around our Metro Parks, woods, and rivers this spring. We went with common species—because it feels good to be able to check things off your list—but think of this as a starting point for paying a little more attention to the natural world around you. 

And if you are one of the many people who is suddenly leading a homeschool, you can use this as an educational scavenger hunt. My “class” will be taking this list up to Highbanks on the first warm April afternoon. 

Birds

Robin

My mom used to point out the “first robin of spring” as March turned to April every year—a sign that the season was changing and more birds would soon be joining their song in the trees.

Hawk

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… actually a bird. Our flat lands and wide skies are an ideal combination to catch a hawk carefully circling in  the sky.  (Because this is an easy scavenger hunt, any bird of prey can check this box. We won’t tell). 

Warblers

The Ohio Division of Wildlife calls warblers, “one of the avian highlights of spring.” While there are several species that visit our state, the blue-winged, golden winged, and yellow all have bright yellow coloring that perhaps makes them easier to spot in the trees. ODW recommends Greenlawn Cemetery as a local spot to see them.

Animals

Deer

They’re everywhere in Ohio, but there’s still something magical about spotting one in the wild and looking into its tranquil eyes.

Butterflies

Yes, there are many different types of butterflies that live in Central Ohio and yes, they are most active later in the year, but the common painted lady starts fluttering around as early as April. If you find a butterfly of any species this early in the season, we’ll give you full credit. 

Frogs

Head down to the water and open your ears for that familiar croak. You’re likely to spot them chillin’ on the bank or the nearest lily pad, but it’s really fun if you get to watch them swim. 

Baby… anything

It’s spring, the season many species welcome their babies into the world. And if there’s anything cuter than an animal, it’s a baby animal. Ducklings, bunnies, birds nests; anywhere you can spot an animal family will let you tick this box. 

Plants

Fiddlehead ferns

One of the first signs that the earth is returning from winter is the emergence of fiddlehead ferns. Their distinctive spiral sticking up from the ground portends more plants to follow. (They are also supposed to be delicious when cooked, but since this is a scavenger hunt occurring in a public park, please leave them for the next visitor). 

Lilac

You’ll probably smell them before you see them. There’s a reason lilac is dried and used in aeromatics year round, but—lucky us—we’re quickly approaching the season to experience the real thing. Those small, purple buds that smell like absolute bliss? That’s lilac. 

Maple tree

Sure, it’s at its peak in the fall when the leaves turn gold and red, but can you identify a maple before it’s leaves are in full bloom and it’s not producing any syrup? Now’s your chance to find out. 

Fungus

Mushrooms count, but the best fungus in my opinion grows on old tree stumps and boasts beautiful stripes.

Feature photo by Rebecca Tien.

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Health & Fitness

COVID-19 Coverage: Expert tips for staying healthy during your stay-at home

Mitch Hooper

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It's been nine days since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has placed the state under a shelter-in-place order. However long this will last is unknown, but Dr. Anup Kanodia has a suggestion: use this time for your own self-health.

Dr. Kanodia, an Akron-native, is the owner and head MD at KanodiaMD in Westerville. He did a fellowship of alternative, integrative medicine at Harvard University and went on to earn his Master's in Public Health. His practice focuses on integrating functional medicine with conventional medicine. In addition to owning his own private practice, he works part-time with addiction clinics and part-time with urgent care.

"What we're finding, in my practice, is that a lot of people want to know how do they help themselves in this time. What can they do beyond social distancing and hand washing?" Dr. Kanodia said.

To find ways to cope and grow through this situation, 614Now talked with Dr. Kanodia via Zoom. Here are some of his tips to finding happiness and peace during these stressful times.

1.) Get into a routine

Working, sleeping, living, and eating in the same place can make the days feel like they blur together. Dr. Kanodia says a daily routine can be exactly what you need to help create a separation of your work and personal life as they collide together at home.

"[It starts] with having a regular sleep schedule," Dr. Kanodia explained. "And then getting out of the house first thing in the morning; meaning go for a walk, or go get something. But if you're stuck inside the house all day long, that's going to ruin your mental health."

For folks working at home, he also suggests making your work space separate from your bedroom. Don't work in bed, he says, and try to work in a different room than your bedroom if possible.

2.) Sleep is crucial right now

Sleep is the time our body repairs itself making it a vital part of a healthy immune system. But with schedules out-of-order, the long hours inside can make falling asleep difficult. Things like exercise throughout your day can help at nighttime, and Dr. Kanodia suggests writing before bed if you are struggling to fall asleep as well as limiting blue light exposure.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself waking up much earlier than usual, he says to simply go about your day, but it's important not to take naps as they can throw off your sleep cycle.

3.) And so is staying physically active; better yet if you can safely get outdoors

He says that functional medicine is finding that there are even more benefits to the immune system and overall health of the body through doing outdoor activities and being in the sunlight.

"Walking out in nature is even more beneficial if you could. Sunlight, outdoor light, or daylight helps us make Vitamin D, helps us shutdown sleeping hormones, and helps with depression."

However, there is a limit to exercise. He warns that if you feel tired roughly two hours after a work-out, you might've overworked yourself. Be cautious as being overworked can lead to a lowered immune system.

4.) Continue social distancing, but use technology to stay connected and close with loved ones

Dr. Kanodia suggests folks use applications like FaceTime and Zoom to stay in-touch with their families and friends. KanodiaMD also offers video chats—both in groups or solo—for anyone with questions or struggling in this time.

He also suggests alternative ways to do this such as video games and online games. Additionally, forums and chats are great ways to stay connected, he says.

5.) Keep a positive outlook with healthy outlets

It's difficult to do so in times like these, but Dr. Kanodia says a positive outlook is vital right now. And having a positive attitude doesn't mean you are immune to the fears, rather, it's coming to terms with them, he says.

"We have to accept our fear, [being] overwhelmed, and anxiousness. [...] Stress and mindset are unmet expectations. If I have expectations of how long this will last, if I will get COVID-19, that I don't like working from home; any of these expectations make us more stressed. If I go with the flow, what's the best I can do with this one minute? And keep going down that path."

For this, he suggests finding hobbies that brought you joy when you were younger. For some it's adult coloring, for others it's sports.

"Figure out in the past what kept you calm. Whatever it is that is your stress reliever, now is a good time to do it."

For more information on Dr. Kanodia, or to download his free COVID-19, Cold, and Flu Top 3 Recommendations, visit kanodiamd.com.

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Style

Columbus native to appear on premiere of ‘Making the Cut’

614Now

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Series debuts tonight, March 27 on Amazon Prime

Kent State School of Fashion alumni, Joshua Hupper and Will Riddle, will both be featured contestants on the new series hosted and produced by fashion gurus, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Hupper, a 2004 alumnus, and Riddle, a 2013 alumnus, both majored in fashion design and have had significant roles in the industry since graduating. They were two of just 12 contestants from all over the globe to be featured on the 10-episode series.

Since graduating in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, Hupper resides in Shanghai, China, where he founded the brand BABYGHOST, a successful e-commerce fashion brand based in China. His designs have been featured in Vogue and on runways around the world. His line features youthful, feminine ready-to-wear fashions for the “mischievous girl.” Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Hupper’s talents were shaped by his artistic upbringing and his past experiences in internships with Diane Von Furstenburg and Thakoon.

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