Don’t Do a Tinder on Twitter

Tinder may now make it’s way into the Urban Dictionary as a verb after its Tuesday night verbal diarrhoea on Twitter.

The dating app took to the social media site in full blown the-PR-team-might-be-drunk fashion to argue back against a week old Vanity Fair article which heavily criticised the app’s effect on modern-day dating (in fact journalist Nancy Jo Sales went so far as to title her piece “…the Dating Apocalypse”). Harsh.

Tinder’s slightly tardy response included some-40 tweets ranging from the corporate rebuttal:

To the slightly deranged:

And everything in between.

Why You Shouldn’t “Do a Tinder” in the Face of Criticism

  1. Twitter is the place for many things from witty wisecracks to serious news links. It can even work for some press release distribution. But it is most definitely not the place to provide a professional, corporate response to a possible reputation risk issue. Mainly because people assume it’s not a planned medium of communication and you will appear to be over-reacting even if it was planned (as many believe Tinder’s was, given how long it took to respond after the article was published).
  2. Calling out a journalist on Twitter will not only get their back up, but it will set a precedence with every other media outlet on Twitter - which is pretty much every one of them - that you are fair game. They’re a sort of pack animal, the media. If you offend/embarrass one, you may as well have rounded them all up in one big room and thrown eggs at them. You PR team will be working on the back foot to recover for a long time to come. Just like with your personal dirty laundry, don’t publicly air it. Call them personally and talk it out, like civilised folk.
  3. A more effective way to get your side of the story across, while still utilising the power of the internet, is an open letter on your website. Replace the negative with positive stories, change the direction of the conversation. As with influencer marketing, it would mean more if your message was picked up and shared by people rather than being forced at everyone in a Twitter rant. It will also ensure that time and care has been taken to find the right tone and language, to create a sense of balance, calmness and a general like-us-we’re-not-so-bad effect. All of which is nearly impossible to achieve in 140 characters.

I feel bad for Tinder in all of this. Not so much because they’ve made a mistake, because I don’t think they have, in that I don’t believe it was an impromptu exercise. They clearly planned it but they sorely underestimated their ability to fan the flames of a fire many of us would have missed completely had they not drawn our attention to it.

No, I feel bad for them because they genuinely didn’t deserve the criticism.

I can’t speak for how Tinder is used across the pond but here, in Ireland, I met my husband on Tinder.

As a dating app, it’s been good to me.

As fellow PR professionals, I feel bad for them too. I can see how it might have seemed a good idea to put the message where your audience is. Short, bite-sized chunks. Show some personality with it. Defend your brand with passion. Communicate in a crisis and be open in your response.

All the stuff we tell brands to do, right?

Just don’t do it 40 times in one night, ok.

Tinder has since admitted in a response to WIRED’s article on their Tweetstorm that the PR team may have gone a tad overboard in passionate defence of their beloved company but the lesson will remain with the rest of us for years to come.

Step away from the keyboard. And breathe…


  1. Not sure if you seen it on Twitter over Christmas past, but myself and my boyfriend received first hand experience of “don’t do a Tinder on Twitter” when Cafe Remedy overreacted to a tweet my bf sent regarding the service we received. Queue an absolute meltdown and many members of the public supporting us when they verbally abused us and others who got involved. Crazy how some people think social media doesn’t matter to their business - now they’re closed!

  2. Hi Kelly, thanks for leaving a comment. I actually didn’t see the full issue play out but I do remember people locally talking about it. I think any company that does this around a big holiday like Christmas is actually lucky because so many people are offline and not watching mainstream news - in fact that’s why bad news is often released to be buried on Christmas Eve - I think it’s particularly strange now to see businesses like Tinder (if claims are to be believed) actually planning to behave like this in order to get notoriety! It wouldn’t be on my advice I can tell you that 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the piece though and thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts! L

  3. Hi Lee,
    Enjoying your blogs.

    I’m the founder of Pulsate (Belfast based) - the world’s first venue and event centric real time meetup app.

    I actually spoke to Nancy Jo Sales (we matched on Tinder in New York - this was competitor research). We spoke on the phone perhaps 3 months ago and she told me she was doing a piece for Vanity Fair - so glad I didn’t give her an interview. I think her piece on Tinder was incredibly biased, and I think reflected her own experiences rather than those of the Millenials for which if is mostly aimed.
    However, the guys at Tinder are pretty smart - I would not presume the Twitter rant was for PR purposes. (Good or bad).

    You might also be interested in Pulsate - we are close to developing a promotion / marketing platform for venues that will allow them to personalise contextual promotions in real time to users mobile phones when they are within a certain radius of the venue.
    By contextual, I mean segmented data that will also use the sensors on your phone (temperature accelerometer etc)
    So for example, if it is a warm sunny day, an ice cream shop can send you a video or picture, or URL of redeemable coupon for a Magnum ice cream - driving footfall to that venue. Its great if yoh want to react in real time to your venue being empty.

    I’m not a marketing professional, however there is a real opportunity here for the entertainment and hospitality industry.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for giving your input, really interested to hear about Pulsate I will look into it. As for Tinder, I think their team are very clever, even if it was a PR stunt in a way to respond as they did, I think they only took it a tad too far, otherwise it was a stroke of genius! The piece was very biased so its a good job you weren’t involved, I think Tech innovators can often let their products speak for themselves when it comes to criticism, as the proof is really in the usage and fan base created. But I’m glad to see more developments in the business world as we are much further behind than consumer industries (and even dating!)


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