Social Media

Facebook’s ‘Tinder match’ tool sounds awful but is actually great

By Kitty Knowles 8 September 2017
Facebook Messenger does Tinder style hookups. Pic: Getty/Lightcome
Summary

Getting more people to hook up in the real world.

Dating app Tinder has nailed ‘hookups’.

Its trick is to only connect would-be lovers once both parties have expressed an interest (you can ‘swipe right’ on anyone you’d like to meet up with, without fear of rejection).

Now, Facebook’s taking its own stab at this style of social media matchmaking.

It sounds like it should be awful, but it could end up being really rather great.

F-inder

Facebook Messenger, the chat window usually used to message friends, is now experimenting with ways to get you being social in the real world.

Currently being tested in Canada, this pop-up feature asks you if you’d like to meet up with Facebook friends with a line like: ‘Jane Doe and 15 others may want to meet up with you this week’.

You select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, with friends only being alerted if they receive a positive match to make plans.

Will it work?

Now while many of you will not thank Facebook for the prospect of yet more notifications, there is also something cool about seeing a big social media giant exploring ways to get us off out smartphones.

It’s a mission Mark Zuckerberg already alluded to earlier this year, when he detailed how new tools (including artificial intelligence) would encourage more Facebook Groups to engage in physical off-screen meet-ups.

“Online communities strengthen physical communities by helping people come together online as well as offline, even across great distances,” he said at the time.

Undoubtedly, and especially with its similarities to Tinder, the new feature will be used by some to establish romantic dates (good for them).

But we can also imagine it emboldening shy or distant friends to overcome misplaced fears to start being more sociable generally.

Take a look at your Facebook Friends list – how many are old school mates, amazing former colleagues, or great people you used to party with? How many would you love to see, but can’t think of an invite that doesn’t feel a bit awkward?

Hopefully there’s at least some overlap where you’d really like to see some friendships rekindled: otherwise, what’s the point in having Facebook ‘friends’ at all.