What do Tinder and SnapChat have in common? Both can lead to the exchange of some pretty obscene photos, it's true, but there are even more similarities now that the dating app is launching its new “Moments” feature. The feature enables users to share fleeting photos with their matches — users can swipe the photo right to indicate their approval, or left to discard it, but they only have 24 hours to do so. Each “moment” expires after a day.
Inevitably, this has led many in the tech community to compare the upgrade to Snapchat, but Tinder CEO Sean Rad says the comparison is unwarranted. The CEO argued that “Moments” is supposed to provide its users with “a less intimidating way to share…we want our users to be able to share without the pressure of knowing that their content is permanent. It just allows you to be yourself and more free.”
“Moments” is supposed to provide matches with the means to get to know each other, a gesture that most users will likely appreciate considering the daunting task of initiating a conversation. Though Tinder takes credit for 10 million matches made per day, many matches are left untouched. Tinder prompts its users with potential conversation suggestions, like, “Insert thoughtful message below” and “You both like things. Talk about them.” It’s a solid effort on Tinder's part, but many users still have trouble taking their mutual approval to the next level.
But when did the so-called “pressure” associated with sharing permanent content become a bad thing? Since its foundation, Tinder’s CEOs have boasted that their app imitates real life experiences. But in real life, our actions don’t have an expiration date. The pictures we post don’t evaporate into thin air after 24 hours. What kind of photos are people inclined to share with the knowledge that nothing is permanent? The implication this will have for sexting alone is cause for distress.
But if Snapchat has taught us anything, "Moments" will predominantly become a platform for self-advertising. Users should expect to be bombarded by photos of their matches traveling to impressive destinations, sporting flattering outfits, or suffering from a hangover after a successful night out. Sure, users will have more information to work with when starting a conversation, but I would argue that "Moments" is just another step towards justifying the selflie. Tinder users can now share self-indulgent photos while escaping the consequences of anything permanent.