2017-02-12 / Insight

‘Superlike’ on app results in new love

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Casey Miller, 25, and Juliann Ray, 21, met via the online dating app Tindr nearly one year ago. After chatting online for a few weeks, the pair decided to meet in real life, and a real relationship blossomed. Now, the couple are even considering getting a dog. “We decided we’re getting a corgi,” said Ray. “Because we want a little potato dog.” 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Casey Miller, 25, and Juliann Ray, 21, met via the online dating app Tindr nearly one year ago. After chatting online for a few weeks, the pair decided to meet in real life, and a real relationship blossomed. Now, the couple are even considering getting a dog. “We decided we’re getting a corgi,” said Ray. “Because we want a little potato dog.” Photo by Nicholas Pugliese ELBA TWP. — The internet has existed in its current, socially pervading, near omniscient form for nearly two decades, and today it is common occurrence to spend some or most of one’s day interacting with the world of the internet in some capacity.

It is nearing cliche to point out how much of a person’s daily activity revolves around or relies on the internet — from shopping, to banking, to researching information to ordering pizza. Older generations remember a time without such a tool, but for those born in the 90s and sooner, the internet is a thing that has simply just existed. So it comes as no surprise that among younger generations, the concept of online dating is nothing novel or bizarre — it is just the next step.

Elba Township resident Casey Miller, 25, met his girlfriend Julianne Ray, 21, through the use of the mobile app Tindr, nearly a year ago, in March 2016.

They connected through the use of the app, when Miller “swiped right” on Ray’s profile, an action indicating interest. He even utilized a “superlike,” which is a finite method of communication unique to Tindr. “You really gotta use those wisely,” said Miller, explaining that a user on Tindr can employ only a few superlikes each week.

The two communicated virtually for several weeks, exchanging texts and chatting on video with Skype, getting to know each other, before deciding mutually that it was time to meet in person. There was a challenge, however — Ray lives in Dearborn Heights, nearly 60 miles away from Miller in Elba.

“I had really bad driving anxiety, before I met Casey,” said Ray. So Miller took the drive first, visiting Ray for what turned out to be their first date.

Miller is a manager at a sporting goods store, and Ray works at a state facility with foster children who have experienced emotional trauma — but so far, they’ve made their “virtual” relationship work in the real world. Both admitted that they had no luck trying to find relationships via more traditional methods. “Traditional dating is terrible, especially in a small town, everyone already knows each other,” said Miller. Ray had a different perspective, but the same outlook. “Trying to date in real life, if things go bad and you don’t like someone, you can’t just ignore them,” she said with a laugh. “Online, you can just move on if there’s no match, but you can’t really do that in person.”

“In real life, no one is up front with each other,” said Miller. “No one will say what they want, but online, you say what you’re looking for right on your profile, so there’s no awkwardness.” With Tindr, as well as other online services or mobile apps, when making a profile, a person selects from a few preset options to indicate their goals with the service — usually from “looking for friends” to “looking for a relationship,” as well as something more in-between.

Now, nearing their one year anniversary, Miller and Ray are closer than ever, geographic distance notwithstanding. They plan to start looking for potential places to live somewhere in the middle and make jokes about getting a dog. The pair, while having begun their relationship in an online world, now enjoy a real connection — and regardless of how a relationship begins, it’s how it continues that matters.

ONLINE DATING

• In 2016, nearly 60 percent of American adults considered online dating to be a legitimate way to meet people.

• Use of online dating or mobile apps like Tindr has exploded in the past three years, especially in people aged 18-44.

• Five percent of married Americans or those in committed relationships say they met their significant other online.

• Tindr currently features more than 25 million users nationwide, but there are many different dating apps and online services that cater to various demographics.

While Tindr users tend to be in their 20s and early 30s, other services like eHarmony market themselves to older users, and many other sites and apps focus on niche demographics based on user interest or occupation.

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