Swipe right for & # 39; would like to meet & # 39 ;, left for & # 39; would not & # 39 ;. Seven years after Tinder made choosing a date as easy as swiping your thumb across a smartphone screen, it is by far the most used dating app in the UK and the US. Downloaded 300m times and with more than 5 million paying subscribers, it is the most profitable app of any kind, according to the analyst app Annie. For Americans, apps and online dating are the most common way to meet a partner. “It’s a great responsibility and a great privilege,” says Elie Seidman, Tinder’s 45-year-old CEO. If he finds it less daunting than others, it’s because, before he took over Tinder in 2018, he was in charge of OkCupid, the Tinder of the 00 & # 39; s. He has spent much of his working life helping people find love.
“The vast majority of our employees are actually encouraged by that mission,” he says. “We don’t sell plumbing supplies, right? Plumbing is of course very important, but ours is really a noble and exciting mission. So when we take new risks – new challenges, new opportunities – we know that if we are successful is about helping members make contact. “
Sometimes, however, it felt as if Tinder pursued that goal with too much passion. Tinder was launched on college campuses before it spread to New York, London and then everywhere. It soon gained the reputation of being less a dating app and more a & # 39; hook-up & # 39; app: laser focused on finding users as quickly as possible, with minimal hassle between opening the app and to be lucky.
In his early days, Tinder relied on this reputation. Perhaps the most notorious feature was the introduction of a secret & # 39; Elo rank & # 39 ;, a term borrowed from the chess world to describe a way to score people based on their previous games. With the Tinder version, your score went up a lot when hot people fell for you; when ugly people sweep at you, it went down just as much. Whether or not your competitions were hot was based on their own Elo ranking, and so on.
Matching hot people with hot people felt like the purest distillation of what Tinder was – and a good summary of the often-filled atmosphere in the office in the early days. (This approach continues to burst into messy legal battles between co-founders, with allegations of sexual harassment combined with claims of stock price manipulation.) In retrospect, Seidman said, this approach was a mistake. Now, instead of how hot someone could be experienced, it’s how often they use the app that has priority – that and location, which, according to Seidman, is hardly an innovation. “My father has a story about when he grew up in Queens. He went out with a woman who lived on the Upper East Side. She broke up because he was “geographically unwanted.” So the idea that long commuting is one thing, we see that very clearly. The age of the other, right? People absolutely filter by age. They also filter by sexual orientation, not surprisingly. “
“The quality or relationships that are created are just as good or better.” Photo: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
When it comes to the systemic – almost species-level – effects of Tinder, Seidman is happy. “The relationships are much more diverse,” he says, citing a 2017 Cornell University study that argued that the increase in online dating had led to an increase in mixed marriages in the US. “For human history, indeed, we meet people down the street – you know, one mile away, two miles away, church, work, school – and suddenly the width you get has changed completely. That is a radical shift and a good one. “
And he adds: “The quality of relationships and connections made by all accounts is just as good or better, according to the University of Chicago.” A 2013 study found that couples who meet online “have happier, longer marriages,quot;.
More diverse, happier, longer relationships are certainly something the company can boast about. But for many users, these options are not worth the stress of everyday use of Tinder.
Like most dating services, the app has many more male users than female users. According to analysis company App Ape, more than three-quarters are men – an inequality that is bad for everyone. Men complain that they are ignored or mocked when they are linked to a date. They are the main target of Tinder’s sales, with paid services such as Tinder Plus and Tinder Gold offering users the opportunity to place themselves at the top of their likers’ queues and mark their profiles to others. (Tinder settled a class-action dispute this year because of age-discriminatory pricing for these features. It would have charged older users more for the same tools.)
We are better at it than two or three years ago. It is much harder to behave badly and stay on Tinder
But women are worse. Even Margaret Atwood’s observation that men are worried that women will laugh at them, while women are worried that men will kill them, is the misogyny of Tinder the legend. A 2016 study by Manchester Metropolitan University found that straight men who & # 39; abandoned themselves & # 39; felt after finding a date were less attractive than her photo saw it as & # 39; licensed to use their date as they found it needed & # 39 ;. Meanwhile, dick photos, whether or not requested, are so pervasive that they are inspirational art. Francesca Harris, a student at the University of Nottingham, used the app to request more than 300 (and one headshot from Donald Trump) for her art project titled & # 39; The Modern Male & # 39 ;.
“We have a very, very, very clear picture,” says Seidman, “that is, people who are horrible should be removed from these apps. We have a lot of work in our trust and security group between technology and people – huge teams from moderators who benefit from AI We have things in the app to teach people how to behave So we come in from many angles If you have behaved badly, we want you out – and we want you so out as quickly as possible. & # 39;
Seidman says that Tinder’s record has improved. “Without going into many specific details about statistics, which I will not reveal, we are much, much, much better at it than two or three years ago. It is much harder to behave badly and stay on Tinder. & # 39;
But if Tinder gets better at recognizing abusive behavior and perpetrators of the platform, what about the other side: do people learn to behave better in the first place? “What is clear is that when you grow up in a world where you are used to digital social – you were on Fortnite with your friends or your friends or friends, or you did FaceTime with your aunt or your grandmother when you were a kid – you don’t think of the digital world as another world, one where the rules of decorum and the behavioral norms that we take for granted in a bar or restaurant just go out the window. It is not an alternative universe. It belongs to real life. Each subsequent set of 18, 19 and 20 year olds who become members of Tinder grew up in a different environment in the field of digital social life. “
That generation shift, Seidman says, is crucial to understanding Tinder’s highly visual skewness, making it different from older services such as OkCupid and blamed for the “superficial,quot; nature of the connections it leads to. On OkCupid, when Seidman started, users were asked to complete huge questionnaires. An algorithm would then match the most compatible based on everything from choices in big life to opinions about blockbuster movies. On Tinder, on the other hand, the basic question is simpler: “Is this person hot?”
Seidman states that this shift is partly a reflection of the changing nature of technology. “The internet has become enormously visual in the last 20 years, right?” Smartphones played a major role in this because they made uploading photos so much easier. If you can remember the net for smartphones, Tinder might not be for you at all. Half of the app’s users are younger than 25 (and, Seidman emphasizes, older than 18) and signing up for an account upon arrival at the university is almost a transition ritual for Gen Z. This brings new ambitions.
The core of the Tinder interface, with its graphics and swipe movements, is, Seidman says, designed to replicate the “click,quot; that two people get when they first close their eyes, only in a way that works for a generation that already used to the idea of ??online socializing. So what’s next? The first date “To what extent can we make the elements, the quality elements of a first date, happen digitally? What people struggle with is: “OK, I have this competition. How can I find out if we are going to like each other. Do we have anything to talk about? Can we connect and, you know, how is our chemistry? And can we get more of what you would get and find out on our first date? “
The company’s initial investigation into answering those questions is … strange. Swipe Night, every Sunday in October, is the first original video production from Tinder. Just like in the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch, viewers can choose how the story progresses. Unlike Bandersnatch, they are matched with others on the platform who have chosen similar results. “We say,” Hey, it’s not just connections that you make, but we think that the shared experience of being a community – of coming together – is really very special. We think that shared experiences as a community of people is a powerful, important and old idea – and that it should not go away. & # 39; & # 39;
As long as those shared experiences don’t entail unwanted dick photos, he may have a point.
. (tagsToTranslate) Tinder (t) Online dating (t) Technology (t) Sex (t) Life and style (t) Dating (t) Women