People have many different ideas about what Tinder is. Is it a hookup app? Is it a dating app? Is it something else? Opinions and intentions vary.
To me, any use of Tinder is a good and valid one (as long as you’re clear about it in your profile). I once got some web development work instead of a date from someone. Sometimes I end up making friends instead of finding relationships. Getting social on Tinder and using it to makes friends or business connections is probably its least explored purpose.
My relationship status has been, let’s just say, in a state of flux this year. So I haven’t pursued dating with any sort of vigor. But I did see a pretty interesting profile earlier this month that belonged to Jason Sant. It showed photos of travel, the contents of a backpack, and some hammy shots with a colorful globe. The text explained that Jason was about to start a journey traveling around the United States for a year and would be looking for rides, places to stay and interesting people to interview as part of his adventure. He seemed legit, and I’m always looking to meet interesting people, so I swiped right even though I had no romantic interest in him.
We started chatting, and he said he needed a ride a few days later. I agreed to give him one and offered my assistance if he needed anything else around town. I ended up giving him and another world traveler (Kenny Flannery) an hour ride to a nearby city for a photo/video shoot during which Jason would have his entire body painted in gold body paint. (I ended up hooking him up with a last minute source for body paint from a local shop!) Before the ride, he took me to lunch and we talked about what he’s doing and why. I’m a sucker for weird people doing weird things.
The following weekend, a friend and I hung out with Kenny one night. I met up with Jason and Kenny the following night, and we met up with my friend and her date later that night. I knew my friend would love them because she’s a big traveler. After that, my friend ended up hanging out with Jason without me several times. It was so lovely to invite him into my fold here in St. Pete and facilitate all these connections. As you know, I live for that shit!
After having this experience meeting Jason and not being fully committed to dating, I decided to change my Tinder profile to attract interesting experiences that are not romantic. I know from personal experience how enriching these interactions with strangers can be, and furthermore I’m a writer/memoirist who’s in constant need of new material.
Technology is definitely all about how you use it. Some people hate the noise of Facebook, but there are ways to tune that out and use it to stay connected to distantly situated friends and family and even to meet new people. I gravitate toward uses of technology that end up in real life connections, and I’m excited to see who I will meet through this experiment in getting social on Tinder. Especially at a time when I’m pivoting my career, I’m open to meeting people who might be able to help push me along and who I might be able to help as well.