Tinder lets the rest of the world weigh in on our election

The company is relaunching Swipe the Vote, so people in 16 countries can see who they'd vote for

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 26, 2016
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While Tinder made its name as a dating app, it's been clear that the company has greater ambitions. It certainly has the numbers on its side, seeing over 26 million matches made a day, with over 1 billion people connected so far.

With that kind of data to play with, there are a whole host of ways that Tinder can match people, or use the "swipe left, swipe right" to learn more about people than who they want to hook up with. 

For example, earlier this year the company partnered with Rock the Vote for something called Swipe the Vote. The idea was to swipe left or right on a number of different policies, in order to see which candidate each user should vote for in the primary, based on their preferences.

It's fun idea, one that takes the now familiar Tinder functionality of swiping left and right, and gives it a different spin.

Swipe the Vote was apparently successful enough for Tinder to announce on Tuesday that it's bringing it back, this time for the upcoming general election, so users can find out if they are more in line with Clinton's views or with Trump's. I'm not sure how anyone can still be unsure of that at this point, but, ok. 

The feature is not only going to be available in the United States, though, but 15 other countries. And they won't be weighing on their own elections, but on the election that's going to take place here in two weeks.

Tinder users in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the U.K. will all get to see what they would do if they could actually participate in our electoral process. The value from that seems mostly to gauge world opinion about our prospective leaders.

"This election marks the first time in history that essentially all millennials are old enough to vote. In fact, millennials will play a larger role in this election than in any other – from the big decision to the global conversation – which is why we’re bringing Swipe the Vote to our users around the world," Tinder wrote in a blog post. 

While part of me thinks its interesting to know what the world thinks of us, another part of me kind of doesn't care. 

It reminds me of when I went to Europe in 2007, while George W. Bush was still in power. I was no fan of Bush, having voted against him in 2004, and I criticized him plenty, but when someone from another country also made cracks about him, it irked me. I saw him as a mistake, to be sure, but he was our mistake. It's sort of like how you can criticize your own family, but outsiders can't do the same.

So, while I do want the world to like Americans, since I think we do better with more allies than enemies, I also don't put too much weight behind the opinions of others. These people will be expressing opinions on issues, like the minimum wage and immigration reform, without really having any understanding of what they really mean, or how they might affect people. 

For those in the U.S., who can actually vote once they find their match, the app also has the added benefit of helping them find their closest polling location, 

Tinder goes beyond dating

Swipe the Vote isn't the only non-dating initiative launched by Tinder this year.

In March, it bought Humin, a contextual relationship and contact management platform. That team was put in charge of an unnamed "new product initiative," which sounded like it might have to do with connecting people outside of a potential romantic situation.

That product turned out to be Tinder Social, a social planning feature, launched in July, that lets users make plans with Facebook friends, then find other groups to hang out with.

The feature is opt-in, meaning users have to "unlock" it to use it. Once it's turned on, Tinder Social will allow them to see other friends who have also unlocked it, who they can invite to join their group. Once they have a group set up, users can swipe and match with other groups nearby who are also going out, to create a larger party.

Interestingly, the app is not exactly designed to foster new connections, since, at noon the next day, the group will expires, and any matches disappear.

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