Tinder update makes the service a romantic Facebook

Tinder has updated its mobile applications to display more information on user profiles and offer a reorganized view of the messages sent through its service.
The updated profiles can now display a person’s job and education. Tinder says in a blog post that this was its most-requested feature, and that the addition will let users “make more informed choices” about potential matches and provide “great conversation starters” if both people confirm their interest in each other.
Tinder profiles now sport information about someone’s age, interests, and the social equivalent to a resumé in addition to photos collected from Instagram. The service is also introducing “smart profiles” to show users what they have in common with the individuals they encounter during their idle swiping sessions.
These additions support Tinder’s assertion that its service is used to meet people interested in relationships instead of — or in addition to — one-night stands. (More on the company’s insistence that it’s not a hookup service right here.) If anything, it now seems like a ‘Facebook for future friends.’
That contention is supported by the other update released today: A reorganized view of the messages Tinder users send to each other. The app now separates messages from people who have responded to each other (conversations) and messages that haven’t been responded to (introductions) into different sections.
Tinder users could use the service to message each other indefinitely. If they’re looking for platonic relationships, or if they end up making friends with people in whom they were romantically interested, they can use Tinder’s applications to communicate without having to worry about all the baggage Facebook carries.
Of course, that all depends on people adding information to their Tinder profiles and using the service to do something other than have one-night stands. The company says that’s how many of its users view the service; the perception of the app in popular culture, however, tells a different story about its users’ intentions.
These changes might help promote Tinder’s view of its service. They might also just make it easier for the app to make more money when people run out of swipes or decide to send a “super like” to indicate their desire to meet someone. Either way the company gets to use these new features to its own benefit.

Before IPO, Tinder says there’s no ‘dating apocalypse’

Tinder, a company that became popular by making it easy for people to reject potential mates, doesn’t deal well with rejection. Surprising? Maybe. Unfortunate for a company that claims it wants to remove barriers to making social connections? Definitely.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the late-night tweetstorm Tinder wrote in response to a Vanity Fair article claiming the swipe-centric service has led to what one of the piece’s millennial subjects called the “dating apocalypse.”

Others have already fact-checked both the Vanity Fair article, which stands accused of ignoring a nationally representative study in favor of a narrative informed by a series of anecdotes, and Tinder’s fevered response to the piece.

But another angle worth considering is whether or not Tinder, which is scheduled for an initial public offering alongside sister companies Match and OKCupid, did itself any favors by publicly responding to Vanity Fair’s story.

Tinder owner IAC said in June that it plans to spin off the Match Group — the division that houses IAC’s dating, fitness, and education-focused brands — as its own publicly-traded company during the fourth quarter of this year.

Of the brands managed by the Match Group, Tinder is expected to be one of the primary drivers of the newly-public company’s stock price, according to a MarketWatch report that examined investor interest in the prospective IPO.

Business Insider reported in July that Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said a “bullish scenario” could result in Tinder receiving a $3 billion valuation, given the increasing number of people willing to pay for its premium service.

Given all that, it’s understandable that Tinder would want to combat any negative publicity. Yet doing so with an apoplectic tweetstorm filled with dubious claims is strange (North Korea? Really?), and turned what could have been a single article about its place in society into a veritable flood of critical news coverage.

Why call more attention to a critical article? And, perhaps more important, why attempt to refute its contents with easily-debunked claims about your service being popular in a country where many people can’t use the Internet?

The short answer is that it won’t matter in the long run. Tinder’s users couldn’t care less about the Vanity Fair article, and might never have heard about the company’s response to it were it not for all the coverage it received.

Vanity Fair’s piece makes this clear even as it’s arguing that Tinder signals the end of dating. What are the majority of the story’s subjects doing while answering questions about their Tinder usage? Swiping through potential matches, reading messages out loud to their friends, and otherwise using Tinder.

While I can’t know what many of those same people were doing when the story was published, I suspect they were merely continuing to swipe, barely pausing with their thumbs poised above their phones before Tindering on.

Investors are unlikely to care, either. Tinder’s growth is solid, its users are obviously hooked, and the company’s swipe-to-act user interface has been copied ad nauseum. Tinder is ubiquitous; a negative story in a magazine read mostly by 45-year-old men probably isn’t going to change any of those things.

It’s fun to mock Tinder’s reaction to Vanity Fair — as well as the piece that inspired it — now. But most people have already forgotten, or perhaps never even knew, about all this hubbub, making it little more than a spectacle.

Tinder has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story.

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