Dating app Tinder admits it ‘overreacted’ in its Twitter response to a Vanity Fair article examining social dating habits and, in doing so, highlighted the very point it sought to defend.
If you want to try to tear us down with one-sided journalism, well, that’s your prerogative.
— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
The content of their tweets has already been well covered so I won’t go through them again but, in case you missed it, you’ll find the highlights here. Needless to say they were in a similar vein, that being an incredibly defensive one. The severity of the response did not go unnoticed for long; soon the rant was being covered by any number of online news outlets and public reaction was pretty negative all round. Hence, Tinder (eventually) released a mea culpa of sorts –
“We have a passionate team that truly believes in Tinder. While reading the recent Vanity Fair article about today’s dating culture, we were saddened to see that the article didn’t touch upon the positive experiences that the majority of our users encounter daily. Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted.”
It’s a “we overreacted” rather than an actual apology. It’s worth noting that this statement hasn’t been mentioned on their offending @Tinder account itself.
But, of course, if you compare their 51k followers on Twitter to their estimated 50m users worldwide, it seems like a drop in the ocean. Those users will still be swiping away, many oblivious to their overzealous tweeting.
However, that’s not to say that such an approach can’t hurt them down the line. Yes, their team are passionate about their product and will step up to defend it, I get that, but they gave a lot of oxygen to an article that would otherwise have gone largely unnoticed. A tirade of tweets is one thing, but the underlying implication it highlights is of much deeper concern.
Their response is particularly surprising if you consider the original article in question “Tinder and the dawn of the dating apocalypse”. It’s a catchy title but the article wasn’t really about Tinder. It focused on the effect these apps have on the users; and you may well come away with a some negative feelings about the personal impact, not the technology itself. It could have been any number of dating apps, Tinder just so happens to be the market leader in the ‘hook-up’ app field.
So, Tinder drew unnecessary attention to an emotive article that highlighted the hollow side of contemporary digital dating. Whilst it won’t deter hardened veterans, it’s the sort of article that might just make the next generation of potential users think twice as they read and come to the conclusion – ‘cheap sex can make you feel cheap’.
This isn’t Tinder’s fault, there’s a clearly a demand and users will make of an app what they will, be it looking for casual hookups or long term partners. The small number of interviewees for this article concentrated on the casual aspect. In their response, Tinder rightly made the point (albeit very sarcastically) that they can’t claim responsibility for people having casual sex, that was happening for a while before they came along; but with their tone, and the ensuing global attention, they highlighted (and arguably reinforced) an inference between the two.
In overreacting to a link between their app and casual sex, they did more than that one article ever could to highlight Tinder’s casual relationship with easy hookups.