By Nathaniel Mott
On April 15, 2015
Tinder users will now be able to share their most recent Instagram photos on the popular dating app. The feature even works if the user’s Instagram profile is private, allowing them to share the photos without compromising their privacy.
Of course, people were already sharing their Instagram photos on the dating app. Tinder president Sean Rad told the Los Angeles Times that a “substantial percentage” of Tinder users have included links to their Instagram accounts in their profiles.
But this official integration will make it easier to share those Instagram photos, and by extension, offer Tinder users rose-tinted glimpses into each others’ lives.
There are many ways to view Instagram. I’ve said in the past that it’s the perfect distillation of modern narcissism. Pando has reported on studies that show men whose partners use Instagram are more jealous. But, as time goes on, I’ve come to appreciate the New York Times’ Jenna Wortham’s take on the photo service.
As Wortham put it in a piece about Instagram’s then-new video features:
Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and browse through. It’s why most of the photographs uploaded to Instagram are beautiful and entertaining slices of life and not the tedious time in-between of those moments, when bills get paid, cranky children are put to bed, little spats with friends.
Those are the exact moments people want to share when they’re meeting someone new. Dating isn’t about dealing with life’s stresses, handling difficult issues, or having anything to do with the cranky children Wortham mentions.
Besides, it’s much more interesting — and revealing — to go through someone’s Instagram photos than to learn about them via some short, cliche-ridden blurb. That’s probably a big part of why so much coverage of today’s update has been focused on Instagram photos and not, say, the inclusion of Facebook interests.
The Verge makes this same point in its report on Tinder’s new profiles:
Instagram’s a great addition, but a quick sampling shows that [the addition of someone’s Facebook interests] results in a lot of pointless scrolling. (And no, tapping on interests doesn’t do anything.) Tinder’s regular profile paired with the new Instagram section should give you a decent read of the person you’re looking at. A long list of Facebook interests doesn’t add much.
Instagram isn’t about real life. It’s about someone’s ideal life, or at least the life they want to project to others. While that might rankle those who like a little authenticity in their social networks, it’s also perfect for something like Tinder.
[illustration by Hallie Bateman]
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Nathaniel Mott is a staff writer for PandoDaily, covering startups and technology from New York.