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Why Tinder’s ‘Twitter meltdown’ was entirely justified and it’s the media that needs to get a grip

Posted by Ian McKee on 12th August 2015

A recent article by journalist Nancy Jo Sales in Vanity Fair entitled “Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse” has clearly upset the guys running the hugely popular dating app Tinder.

This led to a slew of critical public tweets from the company’s official Twitter account yesterday and today, making the case that statistics used in the article are factually incorrect. It also suggested that Tinder had not been contacted in the writing of the article, making the case that that is what journalists generally do.

Now, I don’t want to get too bogged down in the who’s right and who’s wrong of the argument here. I haven’t looked at either sets of research which seem to form the main crux of dispute. I’m not and never have been a Tinder user (I’m married, and not part of the 1.7% of users Tinder acknowledges are married) so can’t call myself a fan of the app, and equally can’t remember ever reading Vanity Fair.

I’m objective in this debate. Yet I find myself taking a side, due to the reaction of the media-at-large to Tinder’s tweets. Phrases including ‘freakout’, ‘meltdown’ and ‘rant’ are all being used.

I’ve read through the supposed ‘tweetstorm’ (The Drum has a decent rundown of it) and to me it seems a remarkably reasonable response. At least it would be had it come from a personal account.

We’ve become used to celebrities and public figures taking to Twitter to defend themselves. Everyone from sports people to musicians, TV personalities to authors have used it as a channel to react to something that has appeared in the press about them which they object to. It’s an accepted PR tactic for the individual now.

But for some reason when a business or brand does it, in a relatively measured way, it’s the PR team ‘going ballistic’.

Why shouldn’t a brand use its public social profiles to react to something it objects to? I for one like the idea of brands showing a bit of personality on social media, occasionally having an opinion instead of constantly playing it safe.

Especially if Tinder wasn’t in fact contacted for a right of reply in the writing of the article, then it absolutely has every right to make comment in a public forum. Could it be that the media don’t like the idea of the businesses they write about using their own channels to publish anything other than the usual vanilla marketing messages?

photo credit: “i saw you on tinder” Trastevere 2014

Ian McKee

Ian started out his career working in travel PR, working for tourist boards, airlines and hotel groups. Whilst there he carved out a position as a digital communications expert, managing social media, SEO and email marketing campaigns for clients.