About a month ago it seemed I couldn’t go ten minutes without reading something about Tinder. Tinder is an app that claims: “[it] is how people meet. It’s like real life, but better.”
The primary mechanic of the app is simple, see a picture, swipe one way to say yes, the other to say no. If that person says yes as well, you can communicate on the app. For those who are old enough to remember Hot or Not (which still exists) this should be all too familiar.
My first thoughts were about how silly this is, but it was intriguing enough to make me want to experiment.
I signed up when I was out of town. I thought this safer, no way someone I knew would see me on Tinder. Within 10 minutes of signing up and a few dozen swipes, I got a connection.
My connection immediately turned the conversation, shall we say adult. Was Tinder the hookup haven others thought it to be? Then she invited me to pay to join her webcam show. Simply a version of the worlds oldest profession, in a new medium.
Fortunately, Tinder has a block feature where I could report this interaction as “spam.”
When I returned to Seattle, I continued to swipe away, actually reaching the end of Tinder. Seattle’s a small town, and I had the free time so I saw 100’s of pictures. The result of all that swiping: two matches.
One match never opened up communication, the other did. We chatted on Tinder, then met for coffee and a few dates. I had no expectations about Tinder, but in this case it did match two people with a good bit in common.
A few thoughts for those curious about the service.
It will get weird, you will run into folks you know. At some point you will see someone you know in real life and you will have to make a decision. And saying, “no” is almost always the right choice.
And to me that’s the most interesting part of the service, the asymmetry of no. It would seem that saying yes or no send the same amount of information, but they don’t.
If you say yes to someone and it’s not match you would think it would tell you that that person said no to you, but that isn’t exactly true. There are age and proximity filters that could show you people that aren’t seeing you.
So a non-match could simply mean they haven’t seen you yet. And in that way saying no leaks less information than a yes.
Finally, people in Seattle are more selective than St. Louis or Oklahoma City. In two days, in each of these cities, I received more matches than in ten days in Seattle. Not necessarily surprising, but interesting.
Final verdict, Tinder was an interesting experiment for me, but not some place where I will invest my time to make connections.