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In a world in which people want to take studio quality photographs without ever taking a class, it makes sense that they would try to find an approach to dating that eliminates the time lag between “is s/he interested? ” But can such sites gain popularity in Kenya, where most of the population still do not have access to the internet? Online dating sites like e-Harmony or Ok Cupid, which enjoy enormous popularity in other parts of the world, barely register in Kenya, even though the basic versions are free to use.The main obstacle has been that while the cost of internet connectivity has been steadily declining, the cost of owning a personal computer has remained relatively high, keeping non-essential computer use out of reach for most. An estimated 80% of internet users in Africa connect through their mobile phones.These figures suggest operationally at least, dating apps can find markets in African communities.On the “app” part of “dating app”, Tinder is on solid ground.Across the board, there was dissatisfaction with the calibre of people available for dating, but everyone believed firmly that it was everyone else’s fault.“It’s so hard to meet guys in Kenya, especially when you’re established,” Susan elaborated.en 27-year-old Yasmeen moved from Kenya to Sweden, she found it hard to meet people owing to the vast cultural differences between the two countries.Whereas, in Kenya, dating was easy as men from within and without her friendship circle would constantly approach her and express interest, in Sweden, she found it impossible to breach the cultural divide.
Cultural and social issues shape romantic relationships, and conversations with tech-savvy Kenyans reveal that app developers have their work cut out for them.Launched in 2012, Tinder has quickly outpaced rivals to establish itself as the most talked about, if not most used, dating site in the world. Users create a profile, usually linked to their Facebook account, using some basic information on their preferences and their location.Their profile then joins the millions of others that users matching those preferences can browse.For many, online dating is a code for casual sex, not a path to love, marriage and babies.Even in its original markets, Tinder has a reputation as a hook-up app for people who are interested in casual sex to connect with like-minded people.
Tinder’s global success rests on its platform – a geolocated app optimised for smartphones.