Do You Feel Like Dating Apps Are Broken?

Photo: Vox Media

Like how your swipes feel great, but your dates feel bad? Or how you’ve been pushed to delete them all off your home screen, only to redownload them a few weeks later? Have you ever wondered if this cycle is by design?

Last summer, New York Magazine published an entire issue evaluating the last ten years of dating apps. We polled thousands of daters about their habits, their horror stories, and what they’ve learned — and then I spoke with nearly a hundred of them. What I found was that most daters felt burnt out by the apps, and most daters blamed themselves. They’d say, “Maybe I’m not hot enough, not funny enough, or I’m just plain bad at the apps.” I’d ask, “Well, why are you still using them?” And they’d say, “Well, what else am I supposed to do?”

Vox Media’s award-winning narrative podcast series, Land of the Giants, returns with a new season on Wednesday, January 11. In partnership with the Verge and New York Magazine’s the Cut, we’ll explore the multibillion-dollar industry of dating apps. I’ll be hosting alongside Lakshmi Rengarajan, who spent several years at Match Group, the conglomerate behind most of the world’s most popular dating apps; together, we’ll trace a decade of dating apps and tell the story of how the adoption of this technology revolutionized our modern understanding of dating.

This six-episode season features interviews with current and former employees, founders, and executives from companies like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Hinge, and Match Group. We’ll also talk to critics and experts like author Nancy Jo Sales, data scientist Cathy O’Neil, and anthropologist Natasha Schull to analyze the impact of this industry on culture. The season is underpinned by conversations with dozens of app users grappling with the question of whether the business goals of dating-app companies align with their romantic aspirations.

Listen and follow Land of the Giants: Dating Games on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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