Earlier today, the internet was alight with talk of Tinder’s online rant concerning a Vanity Fair article about today’s hookup culture and dating apps.
What started as a reply to the author of the article, Nancy Jo Sales, disputing the merits of a survey saying 30% of Tinder users are married, turned into a 30-tweet rant about why Tinder is so much more than a hookup app.
The reaction hasn’t been that positive for Tinder, with people making mockery of its claim it has users in North Korea, and saying the company acted like an affronted online dater who had been rejected.
And in a statement, Tinder has admitted that it overreacted to the article, although it has not deleted the tweets or replies to the journalist.
The statement said: “We have a passionate team that truly believes in Tinder. While reading a 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 Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted.”
Tinder is likely hoping for the news cycle to end and for everyone to move on, while journalist Nancy Jo Sales is lapping up the adulation for her excellent piece and subsequent fall-out, joyfully retweeting all the praise coming her way.
In reality both sides of the argument has justification, but just because one side exists doesn’t mean the other doesn’t, or that an exploration of one aspect isn’t valid.
For a section of society, Sales’s deception is obviously completely accurate because it’s based on people’s real experiences, and she has complete legitimacy in reporting it, without Tinder crying over lack of balance.
The piece itself is more about the changing society amongst younger generations who are using these apps as tools to facilitate behaviour that is hardly new.
As Charles Arthur, former technology editor at The Guardian said on Twitter: “There is nothing in the story that requires Tinder’s opinion. None of it. Nada. Zip. Rien.”
However on the other hand, that of course doesn’t mean this kind of interaction is the only sort that occurs on Tinder, or dating apps.
But while Tinder may well have aspirations beyond being a hookup app, and even be achieving these goals, that doesn’t excuse their overreaction to the article.
Read an excerpt of the excellent Vanity Fair article below:
As the polar ice caps melt and the earth churns through the Sixth Extinction, another unprecedented phenomenon is taking place, in the realm of sex. Hookup culture, which has been percolating for about a hundred years, has collided with dating apps, which have acted like a wayward meteor on the now dinosaur-like rituals of courtship. “We are in uncharted territory” when it comes to Tinder et al., says Justin Garcia, a research scientist at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. “There have been two major transitions” in heterosexual mating “in the last four million years,” he says. “The first was around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, in the agricultural revolution, when we became less migratory and more settled,” leading to the establishment of marriage as a cultural contract. “And the second major transition is with the rise of the Internet.”
People used to meet their partners through proximity, through family and friends, but now Internet meeting is surpassing every other form. “It’s changing so much about the way we act both romantically and sexually,” Garcia says. “It is unprecedented from an evolutionary standpoint.” As soon as people could go online they were using it as a way to find partners to date and have sex with. In the 90s it was Craigslist and AOL chat rooms, then Match.com and Kiss.com. But the lengthy, heartfelt e-mails exchanged by the main characters in You’ve Got Mail (1998) seem positively Victorian in comparison to the messages sent on the average dating app today. “I’ll get a text that says, ‘Wanna fuck?’ ” says Jennifer, 22, a senior at Indiana University Southeast, in New Albany. “They’ll tell you, ‘Come over and sit on my face,’ ” says her friend, Ashley, 19.
Mobile dating went mainstream about five years ago; by 2012 it was overtaking online dating. In February, one study reported there were nearly 100 million people–perhaps 50 million on Tinder alone–using their phones as a sort of all-day, every-day, handheld singles club, where they might find a sex partner as easily as they’d find a cheap flight to Florida. “It’s like ordering Seamless,” says Dan, the investment banker, referring to the online food-delivery service. “But you’re ordering a person.”