Hello from the other side

The Asian Age.  | Nirtika Pandita

Technology, In Other news

A new feature in the popular dating app Tinder promises to empower women by letting them control the flow of conversation after swiping right.

The app setting will prevent the one you swiped right from messaging, until you decide to start a conversation. It is only for iOS operating system users

Giving women extra control on the dating app, Tinder India has introduced the ‘My Move’ feature, empowering women to control the flow of conversation and in a way, pushing them to ‘make the move’. The feature already present in the rival-dating app Bumble is an attempt by the popular dating site towards making the virtual matchmaking space secure for women. The app setting will not allow the one you swiped right, to message until you decide to start a conversation. Launched on a trial basis, this feature is available only on iOS operating system for now.

Previously, anyone could start the chat after a match, but now, women can set the dating app to an option where they are the first to send a message to the match. “With ‘My Move,’ we are giving female users the ability to exclusively send the first message if and when they want to. The setting provides women the autonomy to choose how to engage with their matches and empowers them to control their conversations,” says Taru Kapoor, India Head, Tinder and Match Group. Women who have had their fair share of unsolicited pictures and messages have welcomed the move.

Taru kapoor

Preeti, a marketing professional from Mumbai remembers an unpleasant conversation that made her uninstall the app. “I had just downloaded the app and started talking to this guy who messaged and spoke decently in the beginning. But after a while, he asks me, ‘are you a parking ticket’. When I asked what he meant by that, he replies ‘So that I can park my car’. I was so disgusted that I unmatched him and uninstalled the app.”  For Mumbai-based make-up artist Priya, it is the mentality at the core that needs to be changed which this feature can’t do. “I was on Tinder for two-three months. I ended up deleting it as 95 per cent of men just want to get laid, a lot of them are married with kids and open about it. I matched with a guy who seemed to be genuine and lived close by. But strangely, every time he wanted to meet he would call only past 11.30 pm,” she narrates.

While many welcome this feature, a good section of people believe that the move is counter-productive. “If I am swiping right on a guy it is because I want to talk. In a way, it is not a wise move because if a guy creeps me out, I can any day unmatch him.” Says Anuradha, a 25-year-old PR professional.

But for women interested in using the feature, will enabling it lead to lesser people swiping right on their profiles?  “There will be no indicator showing that a woman has this setting enabled. If they choose to disable it, then men will be able to message them from that time forward,” says Taru.

Delhi student Drishti also finds the feature detrimental. “I can talk to guys only when they approach me. Because of the prevailing perception, if I take the first step men will think I am too desperate. There is a different fun in being chased,” she says.  Anuradha who is still using the app is of the opinion that it should be both ways. “It’s good that they are giving a girl the privilege to choose. But even the guy should have the right to chose to text or not. A male friend of mine matched with a girl, but he figured she is married. Which turned out to be a big mess later,” she recounts.

While some appreciate the intention behind the feature, most find it pointless. “It seems like the makers haven’t thought it through. There are other ways to block unpleasant people and their messages. You can simply unmatch and report. Also, most women expect the guy to message first and this feature will make that difficult. Lastly, the very fact that you match with someone is because you’re interested in getting to know the person better. Blocking messages doesn’t encourage conversation,” says Arjun Chauhan, a content writer by profession.

Dustin Yarde

Ad filmmaker Dheeraj points that while girls being in the minority already have the upper hand and that it’s challenging for a man to match with a girl, such a feature will only add to their struggle. “I understand where they are coming from and why they are doing it as many men write stupid stuff. While it benefits the women, the ‘good guys’ end up getting affected,” he adds.

But those like Dustin Yarde are hopeful that this move will encourage more women to take the first step. “Maybe it will encourage women to initiate conversations as normally it’s left up to the guy,” he concludes.