I haven’t been on Tinder since 2019, when I was banned for being too hot and funny. Before this betrayal, however, I considered myself a Tinder loyalist for many years, even as the myriad competitors that emerged in the wake of Tinder’s runaway success gained popularity and, admittedly, often proved more attractive options. What I liked about Tinder was the simplicity. While competitors attempted to distinguish themselves with various gimmicks, bells and whistles, Tinder more or less stuck to the straightforward, swipe-based system that made the app famous in the first place. While everyone else was trying to reinvent the swipe, Tinder just kept swiping right along.
That all started to change a few years ago when Tinder decided it had to get a little more creative if it wanted to woo a growing Gen Z population of online daters. In 2019, we saw the launch of Swipe Night, an in-app interactive series/video game. And now this week, the app is rolling out a bunch of new features that suggest the days of swipe-based simplicity are well behind us.
One such feature is a game called “Hot Takes,” which will be available nightly between 6 p.m. and midnight in Tinder’s new explore tab. In this mode, according to The Verge, Tinder users will be asked questions like, “Which of these is the most pretentious?” and will be invited to share their takes with other daters, not just their current matches. The idea, it would seem, is to give users the chance to connect with prospective matches before actually swiping left or right. Previously, users could only interact with fellow daters once they’d already matched.
“It’s just giving you more options of ways to navigate people, and I think you’ll see a lot more from us down that pathway, as well, putting more control in people’s hands,” said Tinder CEO Jim Lanzone.
Another one of those options will allow users to sift through potential matches within the explore tab based on shared “passions,” or tags they can put on their profile. This, based on what I know of dating apps, probably means there will be a lot of people mining the explore tab for fellow daters who share their passion for “adventures,” “dogs,” and tacos and pizza.
Taking a note from newer online dating platforms like Snack, the Gen Z dating app that bills itself as a TikTok-Tinder hybrid, Tinder will also be introducing video to profiles, allowing users to include up to nine 15-second videos, rather than just the still images that have long dominated the platform.
All of these features, according to Lanzone, represent “the first step in Tinder becoming more of a platform than just an app,” though he added that the dating app — or, rather, “platform” — does not intend to become “an entertainment hub.”
What exactly the future of Tinder holds remains unclear — and, frankly, rather overwhelming to dating app vets like myself — but it seems unlikely the app will do away with the swipe altogether. Lanzone also expressed a commitment to maintaining Tinder’s “kinetic energy,” which I can only hope means the next generation of online daters will still be invited to swipe till their fingers bleed.