We’ve been asked by clients recently whether they should be on Tinder. As it stands we don’t believe it to be a platform for businesses (yet) but we’ve asked a single friend to discuss the benefits and pitfalls of this steamy app.

After leaving a marriage and having three children in tow, the last thing I needed was another long term relationship – I had enough going on in my life.  Dating websites seemed laborious and a bit long winded, I just wanted some fun.  You log onto Tinder using your Facebook profile and the app allows you to pick 5 photos from your Facebook albums to use on your Tinder profile.  Your age (which you can’t change) is also gleaned from FB.

The app then does a search to see how many Tinder users are nearby.  Flicking through each profile, you ‘like’ or ‘discard’ others dependant solely on their looks.  All you see if their first name, age and the five photos.  Careful selection of your photos is key.  I discarded anyone either riding motorbikes or proudly holding aloft a fish.  Do boys really think girls like keen fishermen?  If someone you have ‘liked’ does the same to you, Tinder tells you both and you can send each other text messages on their interface.

It’s fairly obvious chatting to people on the app they are using it as a hook up opportunity as opposed to traditional dating with a relationship as the goal.  A few issues were immediately apparent as I flicked through the profiles.  I found my son’s deputy headmaster on there, another guy I know who I’m almost certain has a long term girlfriend and a few of my ex-husband’s friends.  Tinder shows you if you have mutual Facebook friends and who they are which was very useful in dodging people who would potentially have an unsettling crossover into my own life.

The vast majority of users are under 25.  I thought this would be a problem until I realised there are quite a few boys on there after older women.  A male friend who like me is just shy of 40 reported the same of younger girls chasing old timers like him.  I chatted to Richard, 23, who told me that an awful lot of the young girls on there don’t actually want to meet up, they just want their self esteem boosted by getting lots of ‘likes.’

Looking through my Facebook pics I found a rather grainy shot of me modelling at a PTA fundraiser.  All the models were school mums but the picture gave the impression of something far more glamorous.  Richard, 23 asked what I do for a living.

Me: I’m a writer

Richard: Is that picture of you at your book launch?

Me: Yes

Richard: Wow, you must be really good, there are loads of people there.  Would you like to meet up?

Luckily he wasn’t too interested in the book that I had not written.  The closest Tinder has come to flirting with advertisers is allowing two fake profiles of actors from The Mindy Project, an American sitcom.  The relationship was clearly reciprocal as Tinder was the subject of a conversation during an episode, although it seemed slightly over obvious and forced with Mindy arguing that Tinder wasn’t just for hooking up but for ‘finding cool people.’  My experience with Tinder doesn’t exactly tally with Mindy’s.

I’m not sure if there is an opportunity for advertisers on Tinder, I think it would deter users to know there are ‘fake’ profiles out there and the app is only used on mobile devices which poses the problem of restricted space on the screen.  Given the app uses a location device there could be an opportunity to advertise locally but I think flicking through adverts in between user profiles would be frustrating and would drift toward the irritating feature Facebook currently allows of paid ads filling up your news feed.  I think it’s an app probably left best to enabling a bit of fun.

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