Tinder is going from dates to group nights out with the global launch of Tinder Social.
The group messaging and meetups feature, which resides within the Tinder app, has been available to select users in Australia since April. The wider rollout of Tinder Social also comes with a few modifications that “deliver a more real-time experience,” according to the dating platform.
If you want to use Social, you have to first activate it within the app. Once you do, you’ll be able to view your friends who have done the same (and vice versa). With Social turned on, you can invite your friends to join a group and choose a status to describe what you’ll be doing on your night out.
The groups you create can consist of up to four people and the available statuses include “watch the game with us,” and “happy hour.” The best part is the ability to connect with other groups, which can be initiated by a member of two groups with a simple swipe to the right. Now your groups are matched and can message each other. There’s no need to worry if your plans fizzle out, as the group expires by noon the next day. Additionally, individual members can leave groups whenever they wish, and the person who created the group can also choose to shut it down completely.
“Tinder Social is designed to make it as easy as possible to plan your night, get out into the real world and meet new people,” Tinder CEO and co-founder Sean Rad said in a statement.
Tinder has suffered its fair share of (often justified) criticism over its image as a “dating game,” thanks to its user-friendly swipe interface. Critics claim the app removes the fun from romantic pursuits, and encourages extreme user behavior, as members ruthlessly attempt to collect connections (or “matches”, as Tinder calls them). Alongside its superficial tendencies, the app has also been accused of endangering the safety of users (both from a sexual health, and personal security perspective).
Consequently, Tinder Social is the dating service’s biggest stride toward transforming its image from “the app for hook-ups” to something more light-hearted, and communal. It faces an uphill battle seeing as the likes of WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are already used by people to create group hangouts.
Tinder Social’s biggest advantage over its competitors is its ability to help users make new friends. As the company states in its blog post announcing Social: “Often your best nights are when you’re hanging with friends, someone makes an unexpected connection with someone in another crew.” Bringing squads together could end up being the game-changer Tinder needs in order to chart a new course as social app for romantic connections.