You Have One Website To Thank For Your Favorite “Hookup App”

Craigslist
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Ah, the much-maligned hookup app.

It gets a bad rap. Naysayers act like “hookup culture” is a recent phenomenon, like having smartphone access to hundreds of possible dates suddenly made people want to have casual sex with each other.

It sounds silly when you think of it that way, doesn't it? The hookup app didn't make people more inclined to hook up, it just made it more efficient.

We talk about tools like Tinder in a very specific way. The media says they've “revolutionized” how people date and mate. “But,” Mic notes, “what we call modern might not be so new.” The Tinders of the world wouldn't exist if it weren't for one “humble predecessor” that started it all: Craigslist.

Cragslist got its start in 1995, as an email mailing list in San Francisco. It wasn't long before it became more than a marketplace for products and services. Soon it was connecting individuals, spurred on by the opportunity for free, uncensored, and anonymous connections. The site's sparse layout, faceless profiles, and near-endless options made it a perfect destination for those looking to explore.

Craigslist created a uniquely candid atmosphere. Openness between strangers was encouraged. Users felt comfortable sharing their deepest, darkest desires – maybe things they hadn't even acknowledged to themselves. It was, and still is, a place to get honest with yourself and honest with others. Users can be fully themselves, the ultimate freedom.

Like the so-called hookup apps, Craigslist is about more than just sex. Out of that vulnerable environment springs actual emotion. Something casual can lead to dating and even marriage. The basic premise of CL's “Casual Encounters” section and a hookup app is the same: “connect people who might not have met otherwise and facilitate real-life meetups for sex or dating.” In that sense, Craigslist is the ancient ancestor of every dating service we have today.

Now Craigslist is a fish in a much larger ocean. It's lost a significant portion of its audience, who have turned instead to the booming dating market and its enhanced technology. Image-centric profiles and geolocation tech make it easier than ever for users to quickly connect in person.

That being said, Craiglist has yet to lose its appeal. While other dating services become progressively less private, Craigslist retains its strong sense of anonymity. That's an invaluable commodity in a world that increasingly shows little regard for privacy.

For more information on the original hookup app take a look at our Craigslist review.