In a world of Instagram models and pseudo-celebrities running amok on reality TV, where vanity has, it seems, come full circle from its proverbial bonfire to be celebrated in every aspect on a daily basis by all who tweet, snap #nofilter or run for president of the USA, one can be forgiven for thinking it couldn’t get any sillier than it currently is. Made the mistake of believing that this is as superficial as a society can get? There’s an app for that.
The last six months have welcomed(?) the very discreet arrival of Tinder Select, a premium service from the online-dating behemoth that caters to the very beautiful and the very wealthy. While there’s no official selection process or criteria published by the company, it’s been confirmed that ‘high-ranking’ members of the original Tinder platform were invited, and then given the opportunity to nominate their friends also.
That’s where the popularisation of the app ends, though, with nominees not allowed to nominate anybody themselves, an austere measure to guarantee the minimised spread of this super-exclusive dating platform.
While not much is known about the specifics of what makes somebody eligible, we do know that it comes down to an algorithm which took over 2 1/2 months for the company to develop, to rate their users on desirability.
‘It’s not just how many people swipe right on you’, says Tinder Chief Executive Sean Rad. Apparently, profile pictures and how many swipes you receive aren’t all that come into play, with the reactions of others also dependent on their score. I.e. somebody with a high score swiping right on your profile will boost your score more than a less desirable candidate liking you.
If, by now, you’re dying to find out your score, you’re out of luck. Or not, depending how you look at it. While the company does have access to individual users’ rankings, they aren’t releasing them (like Uber will). Probably a good thing, you know that unless you’ve got the invite, it’s not going to be the number you want.
A similar platform, Raya, has gone almost unmentioned for the past couple of years, setting the tone for apps such as Tinder Select to succeed, but has operated in a slightly different format.
Raya vets you by way of application; by checking your Instagram feed, how many followers you have, and also by how many current Raya users are willing to give you their tick of approval by way of reference.
Tinder select, on the other hand, approaches existing users, who can then flick between the bottomless pool of potential Tinder matches, or easily switch the app back over to ‘Select mode’, and only flick between models, celebrities (allegedly) and millionaires.
Now, call me old fashioned, but what happened to getting half cut on tequila shooters and lowering your standards once in a while? Are we that obsessed with separating the wheat from the chaff that we literally need an app that won’t let you play unless you’re a solid 9.8 or have a Lear jet?
Does Tinder Select have a social drinking setting, where you can make it throw in a few 7s and 8s once in a while to level out the playing field? Is there something in the pipeline for this?
Apps like this, based on such soulless vanity are seemily becoming more and more the norm and are spookily like the all-too realistic Nosedive episode of Black Mirror, where Bryce Dallas Howard’s excellent portrayal of failing social climber Lacie Pound is like watching a very slow train wreck.
Could it be time we all considered that scary, old-timey ritual of making eye contact and actually talking to one another?
As I said, call me old fashioned, but I’m fine going on without an app that pits me against my peers.
Tinder? I barely know ‘er.