Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Threat of Tinder

I must confess something: I've spent an (gulp!) unreasonable amount of time this weekend swiping through Tinder, the now trending dating/social networking/hook up app.  Tinder's incredibly addictive quality is strongly reminiscent to the introduction of Facebook over a decade ago, a fact that should scare the crap out of Mark Zuckerberg. 

Since Facebook has graduated from college, it's lost a lot of its luster.  Off-campus, the social network exists principally as a place to keep tabs on old friends and glance through photos of nieces and nephews.  And truth be told, that's not really that exciting.  This is reflective in how users interact with Facebook now.  They log in for a few minutes, scan their newsfeeds and log out; users are rarely getting lost for hours on end and forgetting to go to class like they used to.

In the beginning, what made Facebook exciting enough to be an addictive substance was the phenomenon that became known as "face-stalking."  It made it was easy for a curious observer to do a little digging for information about someone they wanted to meet.  Let's not forget that introducing people is sort of what college is best at (or maybe even the best part).  The social networking site was the perfect aide for all this.

The Tinder app has captured what Facebook has let slip away - a focus on meeting new people.  The implied consent of users to put there own business out there for others to browse is built right in.  It's only for the willing, therefore, any uncomfortable similarities to the face-stalk is a decriminalized activity.  Tinder improves the process by matching only mutually agreeable parties who are free to go from there.     

While attempting to monetize Facebook through advertising, it reached for scale and eyeballs, adding bells and whistles like corporate pages, a messenger service, trending topics and profiles for your mom.  Now, only a decade later, it feels like a dinosaur.

Tinder is looks, feels and excites they way Facebook used to.  If it avoids the advertising trap, it's certainly greatest threat to Facebook' empire.

As always, thank you for reading and sharing. 

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