Earlier this week, VanityFair filed a story about the pervasive hookup culture of Tinder. The article, which was written by contributing editor Nancy Jo Sales, is nothing short of horrifying – so much so that I don’t even want to summarize it.
I don’t doubt that the article is true… but I just don’t think it’s accurate.
I say that because I’ve used Tinder intermittently for the past four years and while I’ll agree that it’s often an absolute zoo, I’ve never experienced anything even close to what was described in the article. I mean, sure, I’ve crossed paths with a pathological liar or two and once met someone who had a wife and daughter in Israel, but, for the most part, the people I met on Tinder are just normal people.
In fact, the worst thing that happened to me on Tinder in the last year was that someone told me that he hoped I’d break my neck after I declined to give him my phone number.
Awful, right? Well read the VanityFair article. That guy seems like a poet compared to the men quoted in the piece.
The sad truth is that when I saw all the negative press coverage pop up today about how Tinder responded to the article by sending 30 accusatory and, at times, nonsensical tweets to the publication and the reporter, I figured I’d have an easy post to write about using social media responsibly.
To borrow a phrase from the article, they just made it “too easy, too easy” with the likes of these tweets:
Plenty of people have pointed out that Tinder’s outburst to VanityFair’s criticism mirrors that of its users when rejected by matches. And they’re right – Tinder comes thisclose to telling Nancy Jo Sales to go fall on her head.
Overall, the response was a PR nightmare and perhaps no one said it better than PRWeek when they filed a story with the headline: Go Home, Tinder. You’re Drunk.
But, I have to admit, Tinder made a decent point or two in their tirade:
I suppose there’s no rule that says reporters need to speak to a corporate spokesperson before filing a story, but they should. And it doesn’t seem like Mary Jo Sales bothered to even try in this case.
Not only that, but she seemed to find most of the 20-somethings she interviewed for the piece in bars. It’s not exactly surprising, then, that all of the people she found shared similar experiences and goals.
There’s plenty of other people using Tinder who aren’t being so damn gross about it. And while I understand that this reporter couldn’t exactly knock on my door and ask to watch me swipe responsibly and have the same exchange for the tenth time about hiking in Peru, she could have looked a little further than a dive in the Financial District to find a better variety of sources.
Sorry, VanityFair, I’m with Tinder on this one. That was cheap.
But a word of advice, Tinder: Ease up on the tweets.
UPDATE: New York magazine wrote this articulate and thoughtful rebuttal to the Vanity Fair piece. If you can stomach another article on the topic, it’s well worth the read.