Did SXSW users find a new functionality for Tinder?

By treating the bio line like an update bar, Tinder users at SXSW organically improved the app… and may have figured out a way to turn it into a microblogging service.

 

Kate Knibbs

Tech

Published Mar 19, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 2:56 pm CDT

Over the past year, Tinder went from a curiosity to an essential app for single young people. It facilitates casual sex without seeming sleazy, and creates a low-stakes atmosphere while simultaneously allowing users the pleasure of mercilessly rejecting someone based on their looks, which is quite the balancing act.

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Creators Sean Rad and Justin Mateen made smart choices to help their app gain popularity. But some Tinder users are taking it upon themselves to tweak the tagline feature into a microblogging space, and it probably should’ve been this way from the beginning. As a dating columnist at SXSW pointed out, users at the sprawling Austin festival are treating their biography taglines like Facebook status update bars, changing it according to where they are and what they want to do.

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Whether it’s just a SXSW quirk or it’s catching on, I hope Tinder pays attention to the way users are tweaking the tagline’s original intention. They’re changing what is essentially a Twitter bio and turning it into a way to post tweets through Tinder. It could be the missing feature that takes Tinder from a dating app to a dating app that’s also a broader social media platform.

Mateen spoke about Tinder’s intentions to become more than a dating app as far back as last July, and it has released updates to encourage people to use it for more than romantic connections (they’ve even suggested using Tinder for business.) But so far, none of the updates to Tinder have convinced people to use it for friendships. It’s still the kind of app where it’s easier to find a sex partner than it is to find a business partner. By turning the tagline feature into a microblogging opportunity, Tinder may actually be able to expand the types of interactions that take place. It could become the next Twitter… with more opportunities for sex. It did just add verification for famous accounts, after all.

And Tinder makes good use of location when it comes to matching people, but if it switched the tagline to an update bar, it could further take advantage of location by encouraging people to check in to specific locations, Foursquare-style.  

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Yes, at first, people will still primarily use the app to hook up. But if people start posting interesting updates à la Twitter, users in relationships may see a reason to join: They won’t want to miss their single friends’ updates. And brands have already started using Tinder as a promotional tool; what if media outlets start using it too? OK, that would be kind of annoying for people who still want to use it as a dating service. But I’m thinking they could find a way to separate the update portion from the hookup portion, or a way to allow people and organizations to create accounts to post updates but not to appear on the dating portion.

Whatever the case, Tinder could become a more multi-use app. 

H/T Global Grind | Photo via Flickr/Pete (CC BY 2.0) 

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*First Published: Mar 19, 2014, 2:18 pm CDT