When you transition from a small town to a big university as I did, you can sometimes run into the problem of not knowing how to meet new people. In the fall of 2017, my first year of college, I decided downloading an online dating app could potentially be a good starting place for an introvert like myself to become acquainted with people around me. I'd call the results inconclusive thus far, but I'd still recommend them to others curious enough to try it out.
After hearing Tinder horror stories from a variety of people, I settled on downloading Bumble which had a reputation of not being as hook-up orientated. A key feature of the app is that it's designed with women in mind to make using Bumble a more pleasant experience, so those who are signed up as women are the ones who have to initiate a conversation with their matches. Once I got a feeling for maintaining conversations and avoiding people displaying red flags, I branched out a bit to other apps including Tinder.
I have talked to quite a few people since I started using these apps, but I haven't gone on as many dates. I think the kind of people you talk with depends on where you live, but I wouldn't say I've had that many negative experiences so far. I've made some friends, I've blocked others, and some I see around campus who I avoid making eye contact with at all, but such is life.
The only things I would warn about are avoiding being in dangerous situations to the best of your ability and don't let the swiping become an obligation. I prefer to always meet someone for the first time in public and swipe because it can be fun to do (not because you feel like you HAVE to meet someone). If you are ever made to feel uncomfortable, you have every right to say "no" (and a handy little "block" button in some cases).
Personally, I've found the experience to be quite liberating. I feel more confident and assured about how to talk to new people. I've learned more about how I want to be treated and I have complete control over who I want to be associated with. Lastly, while rejection can hurt just as much as it did before I joined, it serves as a good reminder to me that other people also have every right to choose who they want to talk to and they can find someone who they will be happy with; it's what everyone deserves if that's what they choose for themselves.
If you haven't tried online dating enough yet, I would say go ahead and download one (as previously mentioned, Bumble is a good place to start). In my experience, listing specifications of what kind of interaction you want to have with matches can work fairly decent because it lets people know what you're looking for from the very start. If you end up not liking the apps, you can always delete your account.
Now go forth and start swiping, my friends!