THE CONVERSATION - Feb 25 - New safety features will be added to Tinder throughout 2020 including a means to connect users with emergency services when they feel unsafe and more safety information provided through the app. Also, AI will validate profile photos allowing members to self-authenticate through a series of real-time posed selfies which are compared to existing profile photos. I examined a range of news articles reporting on how people were using Tinder for purposes other than dating. People campaign on behalf of politicians. I also found several health and awareness campaigns, personal ads, promotion of local gigs, joke accounts and even subversive works of art. Tinder is a social ecosystem where multiple activities co-exist. Historian Andrew DJ Shield found that some Grindr users establish friend networks, and housing or employment opportunities. While safety is needed, these companies should ensure that new features are not shutting down creative, productive and self-protective uses that make the app meaningful in people's everyday lives.
Mark Brooks: Context is everything when it comes to dating behavior and dating apps. Its super-important that product designers either explicitly open up their app contexts to cover more of the tapestries of life in their respective niche communities like Grindr, or maintain the context as dating-only in the case of Tinder. It's a key decision. Some brands can emerge as communities, and some like Tinder should remain laser focused on their jobs-to-be-done. i.e. get people out on dates with (somewhat) compatible partners.