Tinder and Bumble are desperate to convince you that you’re not desperate. Dating, they promise, is fun, so fun, that when one date ends badly, it’s a barely disguised blessing: You get to stay on the apps and keep on dating!
Both companies are pushing this message with recent advertising efforts. Tinder has a new publication, Swipe Life, specializing in personal essays that reinforce the idea that dating misadventures are cool, or at least exciting, invigorating and youthful. (Swipe Life says downloading Tinder is a milestone in human life akin to buying your first beer and losing your virginity.)
Bumble is selling itself as a means to personal betterment and greater sophistication. It is profiling good-looking, high-achieving New Yorkers on articles on its blog, the Beehive, and on bus stops and billboards around New York City. The dating-slash-friendship-slash-networking app is hoping to sell users on various types of upward mobility. The right romantic partner is surely on the app, but making other connections could serve you just as well.
Other dating apps are also getting into the content business. Grindr has its own news site, Into, on which it aggregates and comments upon reporting of the day; Hinge, as part of an advertising campaign last year, published short-form fiction on walls and billboards.
It’s as if the apps have realized we’ve become disenchanted with their ways, and now they’re making an effort to treat us right. They want to gain our trust, so we’ll settle down with them for the long haul.