Rejoice, all you swiping addicts: Tinder will soon introduce a premium version featuring an “undo” button, promising to reverse unintentional left swipes in the matchmaking app. This is great news for hopeless romantics, people who enjoy throwing their money away, and Tinder’s parent company, IAC, which may end up laughing its way to the bank if enough of the app’s reported 10 million active daily users opt to pay a monthly fee for the premium version.
As reported by TechCrunch, Tinder Plus will roll out in the U.S. with a “mid-to-late March time frame” and will also include a new feature called “Passport,” which will allow users to seek potential matches in far-flung locations around the world. (Currently, you can only match with someone located within 100 miles.) Though the service has already been tested in various markets at a range of price points, Tinder will not yet confirm how much they will charge Americans; a recent leak points to a monthly subscription fee of $6.99, though other reports suggest the cost could go as high as an outrageous $19.99.
Take a look at your Tinder account right now. How many of the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of your matches have you actually met?
More outrageous, though, is the notion that anyone would pay any amount of money for these premium features, since to do so would be to give merit to the idea that Tinder is effective in creating matches that lead to IRL hookups, dates, or more. The app claims to make more than 15 million matches every day, but as anyone who swipes frequently knows, a Tinder match does not equal a mate. Take a look at your Tinder account right now. How many of the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of your matches have you actually met? Running some quick calculations on my hundreds of matches, I’m hovering around the .01 percent mark, and I’m not getting hitched anytime soon—not that that’s the point of Tinder, but, you know, just saying.
When Tinder launched in August 2012, it offered a refreshing change of pace for would-be online daters. With its streamlined interface, photo-focused design, and minimal amount of text, the app was a welcome tonic for the information overload of OkCupid profiles—it’s truly stunning how many people will list an iPhone as one of the six things they could never live without—and the self-seriousness of other dating services like Match.com, which are hellbent on finding your soulmate. Tinder, by contrast, was fresh and fun, essentially replicating the experience of going to a bar and only talking to people you wanted to; even better, you could prevent people you had no interest in from even contacting you by swiping left.
But over time, Tinder has proven itself to be more of a game than a legitimate dating service. How else to explain, when you match with someone, the pop-up window asking if you want to send a message or “Keep Playing?” In essence, Tinder is nothing more than Hot or Not 2.0. (Amazingly, Hot or Not has essentially ripped off Tinder’s formula by connecting its users.)
In essence, Tinder is nothing more than Hot or Not 2.0.
Its addictive nature only undermines its usefulness as a matchmaking app. I know gay men who change Tinder’s settings to show them women when they run out of guys to swipe right or left on, just so they can get their swiping fix. And there are plenty of men and women in traditional, monogamous relationships who are on Tinder just because it’s fun. And then there are those people—straight men, by most accounts—who swipe right on everyone just to maximize their match totals. Meanwhile, some people use Tinder to run sociological experiments, while others are on it for the jokes.
All of which is to say that this is perhaps not an ideal digital environment for finding something meaningful.
Which brings us to the questions of the undo button. Since Tinder’s debut, it has been users’ most wished-for feature, a magic eraser that allows us to fix errant thumb motions made on the subway, in a work meeting, while watching Netflix, and so forth. “If only I had been paying more attention,” we think, “we would have matched and live a happy life together and I wouldn’t have to be on Tinder anymore.” But in reality, even if you could undo that, you might not have matched, or you might have matched and never spoken, or you might have discovered after a few listless messages that he was the actual worst. And why would you waste your money on that? If you’re betting your future happiness on Tinder, I suggest you delete the app immediately.
Keep Tinder fun and relatively meaningless, and swipe left on anything that tries to make it more than that.
I’m not here to hate on Tinder. I actually think it’s a great, casual way to find dates, and I’ve had my fair share of moments spent wishing I hadn’t accidentally swiped left. But I also know that if I really cared, I’d be paying enough attention to swipe correctly; instead, I’m just engaging in what feels to me like Angry Birds or Tiny Tower, a little addiction with no end that’s always there when I have some time to kill.
For anyone who’s ever felt devastated by a mistaken swipe left—which, if you have, try to care a little bit less—there’s always the atomic option: Delete your profile and start from scratch. You’ll say goodbye to all your matches, but you’ll also regain the chance to swipe right on whomever you’ve idealized at the moment. Plus you might have better pictures, you might adopt a different swiping strategy, and you might find better matches. Anything’s possible with a clean slate, and it’s all for free.
Does Tinder need an undo button? Yes, because we all make mistakes that we want to reverse, and because it is a business that has yet to earn any real money. Do you need to pay for it? No, because we don’t live in a Sliding Doors world and the ability to reverse mistaken swipes won’t make any difference in your life. Keep Tinder fun and relatively meaningless, and swipe left on anything that tries to make it more than that.
Photo via twicepix/Flickr (CC BY S.A. 2.0)