What does networking mean at all on Grindr

Mobile dating: apps are changing the way people find a partner

A new sexual revolution is coming over the cell phone. More and more men who like men are using smartphones to chat with like-minded people in their immediate vicinity - with the help of GPS-based dating services. They show how many meters away a potential partner is. Communication here can quickly become very open-hearted. Is location-based mobile dating now also driving the private lives of heterosexuals towards more casual sex?

"Gay Registration Office"

The internet has radically changed the potential of love life. Many gays were pioneers because searching the web is more convenient for a minority than in offline life. For example, Gayromeo came onto the market exactly ten years ago. The portal, jokingly dubbed the "gay registration office", created a versatile parallel world.

The connection of location-based services with social networks now brings a new dimension. These location-based social networks are called, for example, Scruff, Jack'd, Bender or Nearox. The latter is a Hamburg startup and currently indicates its number of users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as around 70,000. The largest network of its kind that addresses homosexuals and bisexuals is called Grindr. It went online in March 2009.

16,000 members in Austria

In the meantime, more than four million people all over the world use the Grindr app, according to the company there are around 1.6 million in the USA alone and around 100,000 in Germany, most of them in Berlin, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt. Top cities worldwide are London, New York, Paris, Chicago and Los Angeles, it is said. In Switzerland a good 30,000 participate and in Austria around 16,000.

With Grindr on your smartphone you create a short profile: nickname, personal information such as relationship status, age, height and of course a photo - it is particularly popular to pose in front of the mirror with your iPhone and bare torso.

If you go online, dozens of profiles can be seen. You can look at many pictures and write messages. A symbol shows who is also currently on the network. The contact is easy: "Hey sexy", "300m - where are you right now?", "What are you into?". You can save people, but you can also block them. The whole thing is free, Grindr is financed through advertisements and premium services, which are available for a surcharge.

"The intimate use of the mobile phone stimulates the male play instinct and hunting instinct."

"Every man who realizes he's gay soon asks himself if there are other people around him feeling the same way he is at this very moment," says Grindr founder Joel Simkhai, who was born in Tel Aviv in 1976 Grew up in New York and now runs his company in Los Angeles. He thinks his app is the fulfillment of a human dream. Coming out is often still a lonely process, but the internet and smartphones are helpful.

Users like Matthias (36) in Hamburg still see problems: "The intimate use of the mobile phone stimulates the male play instinct and hunting instinct. But dating of this kind also conveys an illusion. You always think you can get to know someone better." The app keeps suggesting new people. "In the long run there is a rush to collect, you become lazy and too demanding."

A year ago, in September 2011, Simkhai's company also launched the Blendr network, which is not only aimed at homosexuals and emphasizes that it was developed for friendly contacts. But of course women and men can use it as they want. User numbers are not announced. But Germany is among the top ten markets, they say. But one look shows: only a few women are online there.

Apps

There are hardly any figures on the overall mobile dating market. According to a study by "Dating-Vergleich.de" a few weeks ago, a million people in Germany are already flirting on the move. This can be estimated if you add up the download figures from Apple's AppStore and the Android store Google Play as well as mobile statistics from the leading dating providers. In addition to the apps mentioned, the portals of Badoo, Lovoo and FriendScout24 are also popular.

Mobile dating is still in its infancy, as Karolina Schaefer from "Dating-Vergleich.de" says. Some apps are not yet technically mature. Nevertheless, she predicts that since smartphones are becoming more and more popular and, thanks to Foursquare and Co., the inhibition of revealing one's own location will decrease, the new technology will change the search for partners extremely in the coming years. (APA, September 7, 2012)