What William Powers can tell you about hitting up Tinder this NYE.

NYE is a time for friends and family to come together to welcome the new year, see out the old year, and sing Old Lang Syne.

It’s a time for people to come together.

Not surprising then, as no one wants to be alone on New Years Eve, it’s also a time for single people to find someone to keep them company as they cheer in the coming year.

Humans, always creatures of convenience, have in recent years turned to their smartphones to locate that special someone to keep them company. Apps like Grindr, OkCupid, and Tinder have all picked up in popularity in recent years to satisfy that need.

But how useful are these apps to you in finding that significant someone? William Powers, one of the pioneers in Tech Philosophy suggests that ‘screen time’ – the time you spend away from the real world, and plugged into a screen, may actually be limiting your life and your chance of finding that special somebody. For example, new mental afflictions such as Nomophobia (the fear of being away from mobile phone reception) have appeared in recent years. For Powers, the real connection comes from the people you’re around, and the overuse of your gadget is doing you harm. He states:

‘If we’ve learned anything in the last decade about technology and human interaction, it’s that as screen time rises, direct human-to-human interaction falls off proportionally. We encounter this truth every day in the small moments when our relatedness to others is interrupted and fractured by technology. The conversation broken off by another person’s telephone ringing. The voice the trails away as eyes and brain tunnel into a screen.’

Powers continues with his explanation, giving us a situation involving a family dinner:

Here’s what happens next: somebody excuses themselves for a bathroom visit or a glass of water and doesn’t return. Five minutes later, another of us exists on a similarly mundane excuse along the lines of “I have to check something.” The third, now alone, soon follows, leaving just the animals, who, if that can think about such things, must be wondering what suddenly became of a splendid gathering that had barely gotten underway. Where have all the humans gone?’

Using Tinder, how many hours have you spent swiping right, never to find a good match? If you had spent that same time having a conversation with someone, do you think your options for organising a date would increase or decrease? Also, how often have you been thrilled to gain a match with that beautiful blonde bombshell, or muscular hunk of man on Tinder, just to become deflated when you realise that they’re a bot trying to sell you Xanax or something else you didn’t want; or even worse perhaps, only to discover that that special someone is rude and offhanded or perhaps even worse still; just really boring?

Powers’ advice is simple: unplug. If you’re single, spend this New Years meeting new people face to face.

Of course, this is not to say that ALL online relationships are doomed to failure. But do you really want to cheer in the New Year, alone, in a bar, swiping right hoping for a match? After all, you can hardly kiss a screen.

Gemma Lucy Smart & Thomas Green

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