Swipe Left, Mom: Why Tinder Online Is the Beginning of the End

Why Tinder Online, the desktop version of the service, will mark the end of Tinder.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never had a Tinder account. In 2012, when the service was introduced, I’d been living with my girlfriend for two years. By 2014 or so, when it blew up—or, at least, when my 30-something self heard of it—I’d been married for one. So I’ve yet to feel the no doubt transcendent satisfaction that comes from learning someone for whom I’d swiped right had done the same at the sight of my photos.

I am, however, familiar with Tinder. Once, purely in the interest of journalism, I activated a profile for my wife. I’ve also exchanged messages with women on the service on behalf of friends. So I can say with confidence that the decision to bring it to desktop, a move Tinder announced yesterday, will mark the end of it. Because soon your mom will be on it.

From its inception, Tinder’s draw was its immediacy. A friend said it turned his phone into a portable fuck machine. You can be out, match with someone in your vicinity, and meet them in minutes. The app, then, is most at home on a mobile device, something that makes more sense when you consider how much time you spend on your phone instead of your computer.

So to introduce it to the desktop—the device you ignore until you’re forced not to—seems counterintuitive, especially when you consider that, according to GlobalWebIndex, the vast majority of its users are 16 through 34 years old. But it starts to make sense when you think about the segment of the population that actually uses computers for things like Facebook: people older than you. Like your mom.

But Tinder isn’t positioning it that way. Its new product, Tinder Online, is, in its own words, “Your English professor’s worst nightmare.”


To wit: “Mobile phones not allowed in class? Just fire up your laptop and swipe incognito. Cubicle life got you down? Now you can toggle between spreadsheets and Super Likes in a flash. ‘Not Enough Storage?’ Not a problem. Don’t let life get in the way of your Tinder game.”

Basically, as other outlets have noted, Tinder Online allows for (more) dick pics in the office. But, more realistically, it means your single mom will be looking at those pictures, most likely at your childhood breakfast table. And when something goes wrong, you’ll become unpaid Tinder tech support, answering questions about mistaken swipes and Super Likes (a feature the desktop version doesn’t yet offer).

As they did with Facebook, a service your parents probably also use, the people you may want to encounter on Tinder will migrate elsewhere, turning it into eHarmony with sexual undertones. So rest assured: If you have a single parent, you’ll have to explain the meaning of the eggplant emoji to them in the next six months.

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