Swipe Right: How Dating Apps Shape Modern Romance and Communication

Sascha H. Funk
4 min readMay 21, 2024


Swiping right into the abyss of modern love? Well, let’s see as we’re about to dissect the digital dating scene on “FUNK !T — Mindful Media & Communication.” From ghosting to catfishing, let’s expose the wild world of dating apps and the impact they have on how we connect (or don’t) from a media theories POV. So grab your phone, charge that battery, and join in as we decode the language of love in the 21st century (it’s emojis. It def is emojis).

The Digital Romance Battlefield

Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge have revolutionized the way we approach dating. They offer a convenient platform to meet potential partners, but at what cost? The episode humorously highlights the paradox of seeking genuine connections in a space driven by curated profiles and witty one-liners. The rise of dating apps has introduced new dynamics into the dating game, often prioritizing superficial attraction over deeper connections.

In this digital battlefield, users are often more concerned with crafting the perfect profile than with finding a meaningful relationship. The fast-paced, swipe-based nature of these apps encourages a superficial approach to dating, where first impressions are everything. This shift raises questions about the authenticity and depth of connections formed through such platforms, making us wonder if love truly is just a swipe away.

Media Ecology: The Medium Shapes the Message

Marshall McLuhan’s Media Ecology theory suggests that the medium through which we communicate shapes the nature of our interactions. Dating apps, as a medium, significantly alter the landscape of romance. These platforms encourage a fast-paced, image-focused approach to dating, where first impressions are formed based on carefully selected photos and brief bios. This shift raises questions about the authenticity and depth of connections formed through such platforms.

In the grand ecosystem of digital dating, we’re basically all just digital peacocks, fluffing up our virtual feathers. Who knew romance could be reduced to a game of swipe-left, swipe-right? The emphasis on appearance and immediate attraction can overshadow the potential for deeper, more meaningful connections, fundamentally changing how we experience romance.

Uses and Gratifications Theory: Seeking Validation and Entertainment

Uses and Gratifications Theory, proposed by Elihu Katz, Jay G. Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch, explores why individuals actively seek out specific media to satisfy particular needs. When it comes to dating apps, users often seek validation, entertainment, and the thrill of new connections. The episode delves into how these apps fulfill these desires, offering instant gratification and a sense of accomplishment when matches are made. However, this can also lead to a cycle of dependency and superficial engagement.

Apparently, we’re all just using dating apps to cure our boredom and validate our questionable life choices — who needs therapy when you have Tinder? The instant gratification provided by these platforms can create a dependency, as users continually seek out new matches and interactions to boost their self-esteem and alleviate loneliness.

Social Penetration Theory: The Layers of Self-Disclosure

Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory explains how relationships develop through gradual self-disclosure. On dating apps, this process is often expedited, with users revealing personal details early on to establish a connection. The episode examines how this accelerated self-disclosure impacts the quality of relationships and whether it leads to genuine intimacy or superficial interactions.

Because nothing says ‘I’m ready for a deep, meaningful relationship’ like sharing your life story with a stranger after three swipes. The fast-tracked self-disclosure on dating apps can create an illusion of intimacy, but it often lacks the depth and trust that come from slower, more natural relationship-building processes.

Hyperpersonal Communication: Enhanced Online Interactions

Joseph Walther’s Hyperpersonal Model of Computer-Mediated Communication posits that online interactions can become more intimate than face-to-face interactions. This phenomenon occurs because individuals can control how they present themselves, leading to idealized impressions. The episode explores how dating app users craft enhanced profiles to attract matches, sometimes resulting in misrepresentation and disappointment when offline meetings occur.

Online, we’re all movie stars with perfect lighting and clever dialogue. In real life, we’re just hoping our date doesn’t notice the spinach in our teeth. The disparity between online personas and real-life identities can lead to disillusionment and frustration, highlighting the challenges of maintaining authenticity in digital dating.

Impression Management: Curating the Perfect Profile

Erving Goffman’s concept of Impression Management is central to understanding user behavior on dating apps. Users meticulously curate their profiles to present themselves in the best light, often employing strategies to maximize their attractiveness. This episode humorously critiques the lengths people go to for the perfect profile picture and bio, highlighting the disparity between online personas and real-life identities.

Crafting the perfect dating profile is an art form — complete with strategic photo angles, catchy taglines, and just enough mystery to make you intriguing, not creepy. The effort invested in curating an idealized version of oneself can be exhausting and often sets unrealistic expectations for potential matches.


Dating apps have undeniably changed the landscape of modern romance, introducing new challenges and opportunities for connection. As explored in this episode of “FUNK !T — Mindful Media & Communication,” the interplay between media and communication theories offers valuable insights into the complexities of digital dating. While these platforms provide unprecedented access to potential partners, they also raise important questions about authenticity, self-presentation, and the nature of modern relationships.

Listen to the Full Episode

For a more in-depth analysis and a humorous take on the world of dating apps, tune in to the latest episode of “FUNK !T — Mindful Media & Communication.” Available now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other major platforms.

Share Your Thoughts

Have you had interesting experiences with dating apps? How do you think they’ve changed the way we approach relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on social media using #FUNKITPod



Sascha H. Funk

Head of Media Studies | BKK | New Media & ED #Volleyball, #MuayThai. https://saschafunk.com — hosting @FunkItPod | it’s not rain, it’s liquid sunshine