Going the way of Snapchat, the Tinder App, which is ostensibly a love-match dating app but in reality seems to function more to facilitate sex “hookups,” released a major update today. The app updated its utilities to include the sharing of images, which Tinder describes as “Moments.” In a tweet released yesterday, Tinder asked if users “were ready,” gave the date of June 5, 2014 and then tweeted, “Taking swiping to the next level.” The next level of swiping is the ability to share real time images with potential partners rather than just details such as sexual preference, shared likes and dislikes, geographical location and a profile image.
Snapchat, a favorite photo-messaging app that allows users to share images via their smartphones ushered in the concept of sharing rapidly disappearing photos. In other words, those on the receiving end were only supposed to have 10 seconds to view images before they disappeared forever. With the smart phone ability to capture screen shots, users quickly realized that their personal images, perhaps meant as just fleeting teaser shots were actually being captured and stored. Taking the concept to a new level, Snapchat expanded to include not just “snaps” but storylines where users can put their images in a timeline. The app also grew to include the ability to store photos online and even an online webcam feature.
The Tinder app uses a person’s Facebook profile in the initial set up process to make sure users are “matched with people who share similar interests and common friends.” The app is described as a “fun way to connect with new and interesting people” and the operation is simple. If you like what you see, swipe to the right, if you do not like what you see then swipe to the left. This behavior led rise to the term, “Tinderitus” which is the state of a painful thumb resulting from excessive swiping activity.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Tinder, Sean Rad, the “Moments” images shared with potential matches via the Tinder app will “disappear within 24 hours” and are designed to let matches “get to know each other better.” He also asserts that Tinder is approaching “2 billion matches” and that Tinder is an “awesome product that helps break down barriers.”
The creators of the Tinder app have often stated that the tool is not designed for “hookups” but the word on the street has consistently indicated otherwise. With a demographic of primarily 20 to 30 year olds and students in college or university towns the answer to how they are using the app can be everything from, “Tinder got me laid” to “I just use it to flirt.” In addition to hooking up, the app is being used to facilitate dates, love matches, finding new BFF’s or just as a means to chase loneliness away via chat with a stranger whose profile was “likeable.” The app has even led to the rise of the hashtag #YOSO, as in Tinder’s policy that “you only swipe once” in response to user regret when they accidentally like or dislike a potential match and wish they could switch their swipe.
With the new addition in functionality, if a Tinder app user “likes” a potential match, they can not only chat, they can share additional information in the form of images that may or may not facilitate a hookup, a date, a friendship or just idle chatter. With the new photo utility “Moments,” Tinder has followed in the path of Snapchat and users are likely itching at the thumb to start sharing their selfies.
Opinion by Alana Marie Burke