Apr 17, 2018
How Tech is changing us. And how we change Tech.
Everybody has experienced an exchange of virtual communication before meeting somebody in person: a work email before a meeting or before arriving at your accommodation. Moreover, many of us have had the experience of setting off to a first date with someone who seemed to be our “perfect match”. When we are enticed by a virtual profile, accommodation or event, we don’t fall in love with what we have discovered, we fall in love with an idea that we create in our imagination. Sadly, we are often left frustrated when that image doesn’t match reality.
It’s called “Tenderisation”, the phenomenon that was born from what we call People-Centred innovation. The reality? “Swipe right, match, date, f**k, unmatch, rematch, repeat”. These are not my words but those of Tinder’s creator.
How does it work? Swipe left, swipe right. Simple! You only have to make one decision; do you like him/her or not? There is no middle ground, once a profile is deleted it’s gone. Tinder, with its simple and efficient system, made a step forward in the world of virtual connections. But let’s take one step back. What is Tinder’s purpose? We all know that it’s a dating app, however, users, especially in a product’s lifetime, can completely change a service’s primary purpose.
Is this system leading to a disconnected society? Well, that’s an individual choice. Whether you are part of Generation Y, X or Z (or even K), it’s your life and we can’t always place blame for what’s happening around us. Technology is a tool, not a person. It’s a support system with the primary goal of helping people to perform better. Tinder arose as a new way of digital interaction. People needed to become acquainted it before they gave a proper value to it.
Let’s consider when you receive or buy yourself a gift, for instance, a pair of new sunglasses. Once in your possession, you wear them every day, every damn day, come rain or shine. It’s because they’re new and they add an indefinable value to your daily life that you can’t fully express.
But what happens next? You get used to them and after few months the same sunglasses are lost amongst all the others in your suitcase, forgotten for a while, only to be worn again as a break from your favourite pair.
The same goes for Tinder, Facebook and Instagram. At first, they were novel, over time people started adopting them and now they are ubiquitous and in constant use. That’s the first part of the curve. A long-term analysis will tell us the truth: after these services have become increasingly normalised, how will they then evolve? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, it will be a painless transition because when you swipe, you don’t wait, you move directly on to the next. Only in the event of a match will the app allow you to chat with another user, and thus for a mismatch, you don’t have to live the feeling of rejection. Users don’t suffer. We all feel powerful on Tinder!
So why is Tinder in particular still so successful? Tinder effortlessly links people. It brings people with the same aim together. It’s the dating app closest to how real-life works. The system doesn’t create a new experience or enhance a real one, it simply synthesises the real experience of meeting and dating in only a few steps. With time, it’s likely that users will influence and shift its purpose, but for now, Tinder’s team is still focusing on satisfying their user’s primary needs. That means something.
So, the question is: what are you really looking for?
First published on LinkedIn, April 10, 2018
Photo by Jez Timms