“How Not To PR” By Tinder

Have you heard about the Tinder Meltdown (TM)? Some even called it a “stunt.”

In case you haven’t, here’s the quick and dirty: a piece appeared on Vanity Fair that Tinder didn’t like. And it reacted. On Twitter. A lot.

I asked a few communications industry professionals how they thought Tinder was going to back its way out of this 30 tweet tirade. Some thought they’d blame a social media person. Nah, that’s weak. Some thought they’d claim they were hacked. Nah.

Ultimately, they were going to have to own up to this one, but would they wiggle around without accepting actual fault?

Here’s a joke sample statement that I wrote in our TechCrunch back channel last night:

What happened this evening was very unbecoming. While we are a passionate group, it’s never OK to let out your frustration in a non constructive way. We’d like to sincerely apologize to XXXX and XXX and look forward to moving forward in our mission to make the world hump.

Sadly, it’s not far off from the real one that Tinder gave Wired today:

We have a passionate team that truly believes in Tinder. While reading a recent Vanity Fair article about today’s dating culture, we were saddened to see that the article didn’t touch upon the positive experiences that the majority of our users encounter daily. Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted.

Predictable, eh? More than likely, a group of folks sat around a table and thought about potential outcomes based on what went down last night. Turns out the tactic chosen was hoping that blaming “passion” and “believing in Tinder” would somehow be a fair excuse for acting like a dipshit in public.

It’s not.

tind55cbbddb4002cThere’s no right or wrong thing to do during or after a situation like this, but the last thing you want to do is make it worse. Of course, Tinder would have probably rather not had that happen. It can hide behind passion, but the truth is that the company came off as hot headed and not one that a journalist would care to cover at this point. In fact, the journalist’s article wasn’t even about Tinder, just trends that involved Tinder.

The company should have at least directly apologized to the writer, Nancy Jo Sales, and perhaps offered to chat with her on the phone if she’d like and let her tell everyone what Tinder said during the call. They didn’t and the jokes will likely continue.

We appreciate communications folks who, if they have an issue with something we wrote, come directly to us to chat about it. Not that it’ll change what we wrote, but it’ll clear the air and most certainly save you from embarrassing yourself. Immensely.

Something something swipe left on your statement, Tinder something.

PS: Check your email, Tinder, we’d like to know more about these users in North Korea and China:

And this canned response won’t do: “We have users in all 196 countries, including China and North Korea.”

We have *actual* questions.