This week I was giving a lesson on the basics of social media and I noticed that Tinder was included in Fred Cavazza’s awesome social media inforgraphic. I have to admit that this surprised me – I’ve been using Tinder for years but I never thought of it as a social platform. For me Tinder fits into the online dating category, not social media.
However this image made me think – what is social media but platforms were people can engage and interact … just like online dating. The more I pondered this the more I began to see the sense of Tinder appearing on this image, especially with the new functionalities that Tinder has brought in recently.
With this new thinking I logged back into Tinder, and with my partner in crime and a few glasses of bubbly, we decided to test out the new Tinder Social. This functionality is Tinder’s attempt to take the dating app into the more “social” realm. It allows people to form groups with friends of theirs who are also on Tinder and then swipe other groups to chat with and potentially meet up with. You can only engage with these groups if you yourself are in a group – so a single profile can’t engage up with a group profile. There’s been quite a few comments about what this functionality is really for, especially given what many single people use Tinder for, and I have to admit that I was therefore not overly surprised to see a few male female groups, where it was clearly a couple looking for fun.
Anyway so there is me and my partner in crime, let’s call her Miss.B., playing with Tinder social. It was Miss B. that set up our little group and this is where I stumbled upon my first issue with Tinder social – she could add me to a group without my permission or even notifying me. I find this quite concerning – any of my friends on Tinder could use my profile and there is nothing I can do about it. I pondered how I could use one of my friends in Australia’s profiles to form my own group – knowing she would be fast asleep I could in theory have fun with groups without having to worry about her quitting my group (well not until the early hours when she woke up). I could image her waking up perplexed to find her Tinder inbox full of these group chats – how angry do you think she would be? I know I would be pretty peeved! Mark one against Tinder.
I then came across our next stumbling block with Tinder’s attempt to get more social … control. While Miss B. was happily swipping away on other groups I discovered that as she set up the group (on her iPhone) she had all the control – I was unable to swipe groups on my side (with my Android phone). This meant she could connect with whoever she wanted, using my profile, but I had no say in the matter, and again the result was a stream of discussions in my Tinder inbox that I may not have wanted to participate in. Mark two against Tinder.
My final thought around Tinder and social is how the app now pulls in information from your other social networks. To sign up to Tinder you can use your Facebook account – and Tinder now shows you common connections as you browse people’s profiles. I have to admit that I do not always like this. I am not sure that I want to know that someone I might hook up with on Tinder is also friends with my ex, for example. I have also discovered another potential issue here too as I have started getting friend and message requests through Facebook (& Instagram) from guys who have seen my profile on Tinder and rather than use the Tinder app to contact me go straight to one of these other social media networks. I’m not sure if I actually find this a bit intrusive – if I was interested in you I’d swipe right – but at the same time I’m always quick to move Tinder chats off Tinder anyway (it drains battery like there’s no tomorrow) so maybe it’s not that bad. But still a potential mark three against Tinder.
Having now played around with Tinder’s new social functionality and having looked at it from this new perspective I think I could agree to having Tinder appear in this social media image. The question for me though is whether Tinder is on the right path with these new “social” features? I have been a huge fun of Tinder for years and have been very successful with it’s basic functionality, but I am starting to feel it may be getting a bit intrusive, as it leaches into my other social platforms. Maybe it is time to find a more anonymous dating app? Especially given the potential intrusion of Tinder Social where I have no control over whether someone uses my profile or not. Or maybe I’m just being a bit bah humbug because Miss B. got to enjoy all the fun of Tinder Social while I just watched helpless as she swiped some dodgy looking guys, and then found my phone constantly vibrating with these said groups trying to chat with me. Either way whilst Tinder could be considered a social media app they also need to tread carefully as they are walking a fine line between being social and being intrusive. What do you think?