Swipe right on this blog

I recently came across an advertisement for the ever popular dating app, Tinder, on the popular social media platform, Snapchat. This advertisement was publicizing Tinder’s newest campaign for Tinder U, a branch of Tinder that will focus solely on university students. However, before I dive in to this latest strategy of Tinder, I want to discuss where I saw the ad.

 

The other day in class we were discussing whether or not Snapchat was fading amongst college-aged users. Personally, Snapchat has significantly fallen off of my radar, and I feel as though it is beginning to fade amongst my friends as well. While I don’t think Snapchat will be abandoned anytime soon, I do feel as though the age demographic may be shifting towards a younger crowd, i.e. middle and high schoolers. Therefore, in addition to the Tinder U ad being on Snapchat to attract current university students, I also feel as though Tinder chose to advertise on this platform to fascinate its future users. This marketing strategy of targeting both current and future users of this feature is a smart move by Tinder, in order to excite future users who may soon be entering college.

 

So now, what exactly in Tinder U?

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Tinder U is Tinder’s latest feature, launched on August 21st to specifically target university students. To quickly summarize, Tinder is a dating app in which its users “swipe right” on someone they would like to converse with via the app’s messaging system. Tinder will only show you users within geographical proximity, and who fit the age range and gender you have selected when signing up. Currently, Tinder has the reputation of being primarily a hook-up app, rather than a facilitator of long-term relationships, like Match.com or eHarmony. However, Tinder is actively working to alter their reputation in order to gain more users, and Tinder U is a step in this direction.

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From my research, when a user opens their Tinder app on a college campus, the app will ask if they would like to join Tinder U. If they choose to, they will have to supply the app with a .edu email address, and then respond to a verification email. You then select if you would like to only see other university students at your school or in your area, or simply place an emphasis on seeing other university students.

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However, contrary to Tinder’s reputation, Tinder is marketing this new feature as a way to foster platonic relationships. Tinder’s statement on Tinder U advertises this feature as a great way to meet study partners, workout buddies, or to simply make new friends on campus. Tinder U is placing an emphasis on connections and creating a more connected campus community, rather than solely romantic relationships. Through Tinder U students could potentially meet others they would never have met organically, and create lasting friendships. This expansion strategy is hoping to attract a different user base to Tinder, and thus have a larger pool of users to convert into paying customers.

 

While I do think that Tinder U could influence more students to sign up for Tinder, I do not necessarily feel as though it will be used to find study buddies and other platonic friends. I see it being very difficult for Tinder’s reputation to make the shift from hook-ups all the way to platonic friends. I feel as though most people who sign-up for Tinder U will still be using the app for non-platonic relationships, and will simply be attracted to this feature for its university student filter.

 

However, one flaw of Tinder that I feel Tinder U helps to solve, is the aspect of safety and feeling comfortable. With the requirement of having a .edu email to use Tinder U, I feel as though students will feel safer using singing up for Tinder U than they would have for the original Tinder.

 

This feature also comes at an interesting time, as Facebook has just launched their dating platform in Columbia this past month. I can infer that with Facebook’s entrance into the dating world, the competition between dating apps will only increase, and more dating apps will begin to launch new strategies to expand their user base.

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In the future, I definitely see there being an increase in the creation of apps to facilitate friendships, as they aim to make the process of finding friends more efficient. This could be especially helpful for people who move to new cities, and are looking to find people with similar hobbies and interests in a timely manner.

If we use technology for everything else, why not use it to make friends as well?

8 thoughts on “Swipe right on this blog

  1. I completely agree with your argument, I don’t believe that the app will be used to find friends or platonic relationships. I think this goes back to our design discussion, once you get into tinder you are able to see the picture of a person and either swipe right or left and you also got the option to click into the profile to see a small bio. This leads users to use tinder based on mainly physical attributes. I think that if tinder really wanted to change how they are seen as a “hook-up” app they would start by changing their design.

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  2. Great blog on an interesting move by Tinder. I totally agree with Lucas’s point about Tinder being based on physical attributes because of its design, and with your argument about safety. It will be interesting to see how Facebook manages entering this space. It could definitely be tied to their campaign about how the best things about Facebook happen off of Facebook (like events and groups that organize things on Facebook). Like Professor Doyle mentioned in class, maybe one day Facebook will do a much better job of choosing a spouse for us than we do ourselves! Kind of creepy, but it’s definitely a logical future application of these platforms.

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  3. Really interesting blog, Mary! I am curious how the Facebook dating platform will work out, and what ages Facebook plans to market the service to. Facebook has such an enormous amount of data on all its users, which serves as a large competitive advantage over existing data platforms. I do think Tinder U will attract more users because people will be intrigued by filtering for only other students your age. I do agree that it would be odd for Tinder to include a friendship finder component since it is centered around the hook-up culture. I think if Tinder wanted to make a friendship platform successful, they should have launched an entirely separate app. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great post! I think it’s about time that dating apps become more targeted towards college students. The safety feature you mentioned is key, especially since there is no true way to verify the person you are matching with is legitimate. The introduction of this college community, combined with the requirement of having a .edu email allows for safer connections. Although, the way Tinder introduced this service reminds me a lot of Facebook’s original purpose: to connect students on one campus. Maybe since Facebook is stealing a sector of Tinder’s market with their new dating service, Tinder is hoping to take a portion of Facebook’s?

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  5. I think Tinder is pretty trapped in the “hook-up” app image among dating apps. It’ll be pretty hard to escape because of popular culture and the lore surrounding the app. Tinder U (speaking for a friend) doesn’t seem all that different from regular Tinder; the only difference is a small banner on profiles that lists a person’s college, which will probably only benefit people in Ivy League and top-tier schools. Bumble has managed to do well to form platonic relationships by creating a separate platform within the app for people simply looking to find friends (as well as a platform for networking). Tinder is definitely fighting an uphill battle.

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  6. I’ve always found Tinder kind of creepy, mainly due to its design of making quickly swiping left or right on a bunch of random people soo easy. The design within itself that makes picking people so easy goes into creating a certain mood and culture around the app that makes it too impersonal to be geared towards relationships or friendships. I’d be interested to see if the new design features you talked about would change the nature of the application and the connections people make through its service.

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  7. Bumble has tried this angle as well, with Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF (one of my former students is the cousin of Bumble’s founder and did a class presentation on this). The problem is that the connection mechanism is still picture-based, which is likely best suited for dating/ hookups rather than other types of connections.

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  8. Wow, thanks for featuring Tinder’s new feature on your blog post (also, love the title)! Although Tinder is trying to implement this new angle to its app, I can see university students using it for more malicious intents (drugs, parties, etc.). However, if students are really looking for a platonic relationships, they may look to other dating apps like Bumble instead. The concept of choosing to be friends with someone through a picture on a phone screen also does not seem to sit well with me. Hopefully, Tinder will be able to attract a new audience with Tinder U!

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