Stars and Swipes

With the US Presidential Election right around the corner, all the stops have been pulled out to encourage millennials to get involved with voting.  Between the 26th October and 1st November, Tinder teamed up with Rock the Vote, a non-profit organisation whose goal is to increase the amount of young people getting involved with the democratic voting process.

Trialled back in March, this new and slightly bizarre feature allows Tinder users to match with Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Users are then prompted to, in mimetic Tinder fashion, swipe left or right on the Presidential candidates, based on which they believe would be less destructive to stability of the United States. In an added bonus round for this surreal swiping game, the app will also ‘hook you up’ with your nearest polling station. An ideal romantic venue for the first date.

Dubbed ‘Swipe the Vote’, this feature provides a welcome break from the stress of finding a significant other, in order to concentrate on the biggest issue affecting the United States this autumn. Tinder built the experience with Wedgies, a company behind real-time survey programs, in order to give something back to the public.

In an interview with Business Insider, Sean Rad, the CEO of Tinder and an avid swiper himself, explained why ‘Swipe the Vote’ has been a Tinder side project for quite some time. He commented that “We look at Tinder as a broader platform to do good in the world and not necessarily just a business”. It is very refreshing to see a multi-million dollar company, especially one at the forefront of an often morally-grey industry, engage in such a beneficial public service venture.

With the Presidential Election itself occurring on 8th  November, only time will tell if this unique concept has made any impact to the turnout of youth voters.  Though a fantastic idea in theory, to target a demographic through an app where they make up a majority of users, there is no guarantee that anyone will pay much attention to the message being presented. It may be seen as nothing more than a nuisance, a distraction from the main ‘game’ of Tinder.  Will this be a new hallmark for how governments engage with the increasingly disillusioned youth demographic?  Or will it, like YikYak, be nothing more than a brief flicker of novelty?


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January 2022
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