Tinder should know, better than anyone, that rage-fueled rambling isn't very attractive.
On Tuesday evening, Tinder took to Twitter to attack a Vanity Fair article titled “Twitter and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse.'” The rant went on for more than 30 tweets, and criticized the article's writer, Nancy Jo Sales, for failing to reach out to the company and portraying users in a limited and negative light.
The company began by pointedly noting what it believes to be a statistical error, as well as that dating and sex were hardly invented with Twitter's foundation in 2012.
-@VanityFair Little known fact: sex was invented in 2012 when Tinder was launched.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Next time reach out to us first @nancyjosales… that’s what journalists typically do.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
If the company had ended its tirade there, it may have even come out on top. Sales's article rehashed many troupes of articles about "hook-up culture" written in the last few years, with women complaining about men unwilling to commit to traditional relationships, a focus on users at elite colleges and a lack of same sex relationships. The Tinder spin mostly served to repackage this narrative, without interrogating changes the app may have inspired as it has grown in popularity in the past three years.
However, Tinder did not stop there.
The Tinder Generation is real. Our users are creating it. But it’s not at all what you portray it to be.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Tinder users are on Tinder to meet people for all kinds of reasons. Sure, some of them — men and women — want to hook up.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
The company went on to mention some more positive things Sales could have discussed, all of which seem far-fetched to be included in an article about 20-somethings' personal experiences with dating apps.
Talk to the female journalist in Pakistan who wrote just yesterday about using Tinder to find a relationship where being gay is illegal.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Talk to our many users in China and North Korea who find a way to meet people on Tinder even though Facebook is banned.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
We love ALL of these #SwipedRight stories. Tinder is simply how people meet.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
And finally, finishing up after the long-winded, rambling rant:
Instead, your article took an incredibly biased view, which is disappointing.— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
But it’s not going to dissuade us from building something that is changing the world. #GenerationTinder— Tinder (@Tinder) August 11, 2015
Sales was unmoved by the tweets, retweeting dozens of positive reactions about the piece, as well as writing a few zingers of her own.
My article isn't even about @Tinder lol— Nancy Jo Sales (@nancyjosales) August 12, 2015
Is Kim Jong Un on Tinder?— Nancy Jo Sales (@nancyjosales) August 12, 2015
As Twitter users mocked Tinder and came out in support of Sales, the company realized that its strategy had backfired. Tinder released a statement on Wednesday saying, "Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted."
To call more than 30 aggressive tweets from an account that normally sticks to posting memes an overreaction is an understatement. The tweetstorm represented a complete misunderstanding of what Tinder users want: a means of meeting others to date and hook up with, not a political revolution. Worse, it was also a misunderstanding of how to use Twitter as a social media platform. The 20-somethings that Sales spoke with might be failing to find true love on Tinder, but Tinder is failing at using Twitter to generate good PR.
The first tweet from Tinder after the tweetstorm was posted this morning, at 8 a.m.
When someone asks if you lift... ?? pic.twitter.com/6aNIWixgOr— Tinder (@Tinder) August 12, 2015