The Rise of Snap-Judgment Dating

If you haven’t heard of Tinder yet, you probably haven’t been hanging out with any single Millennials lately. The dating app has become big buzz in recent months, finding popularity on college campuses and in urban dating scenes alike. The basic premise of Tinder is to connect you with new people in your area (within a 50 mile radius) that you already have common interests with. Using Facebook information, the service presents potential matches to the user based on a rating composed from a combination of shared friends, interests, and networks. Once two users have expressed mutual interest in one another and a match has been made, they can chat through the app and then meet up in real life.
 
On one level, Tinder is a perfect example of the technology that facilitates Millennials’ real-life interactions. It connects people with common interests, and allows them to test the waters of communication by chatting casually through the app before deciding to actually meet. A useful service with a positive purpose: helping young digitally savvy people meet and find love, and one that some may say is especially needed in the modern dating world where old structures of courtship have broken down.
 
But on another level, Tinder puts the superficial snap-judgment front and center in the pre-dating process. The most addictive (and talked about) feature of the app is the ability to filter through potential dates with the swipe of a finger. Images (and the name and age) of possible matches are shown in a seemingly endless stream and then pushed into “like” or “pass” categories— mostly based just on their profile picture, and often in a mere few seconds. Think Hot or Not for dating. To use another comparison, it is essentially the digital version of the now-defunct MTV dating show Next, in which…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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