My colleague Alyson Shontell has the dirt on a new elite dating app called The League. Its founder, Amanda Bradford, says it isn’t elitist, but “curated.” (That’s a euphemism for elitist, by the way.)
Here’s how it works:
The acceptance algorithm that The League uses scans the social networks to ensure applicants are in the right age group and that they are career-oriented. That doesn’t mean they have to be Ivy graduates or work for a big-name firm. But they should have accomplished something in their 20s.
When Shontell’s post was published, it caused some snickers across the internet. It’s fun to ridicule snobby people for being explicitly snobby.
The thing is, making the platform elitist is totally unnecessary. Snobs are going to match with each other no matter what the app looks like. Assortative mating — the tendency for people to marry people who have a similar education level and social class — is a phenomenon that is happening with increasing frequency. The problem is getting so bad that the Economist — the Economist! — is warning about “America’s new aristocracy.”
You really don’t need a specialised app to find someone who is like you; you just need to pay attention to signaling in whatever platform you’re currently using.
The vast majority of people are looking for a person who has similar hobbies, life experiences, and outlooks on the future. Tinder doesn’t need to help sort people into social classes because they already do that in their profile photo.
For example, the first photo in my own Tinder profile is a photo of me hiking in Scotland. You can immediately tell that I’m 1) into travelling (it’s clearly not Brooklyn), 2) active, 3) outdoorsy, and 4) that I want you to know all of those things. I also have a photo of me acting silly, and of me racing a nice bicycle. In my two sentences, I indicate that I like the internet and economics.
In 10 seconds you can deduce a ton about what my values are and how I spend my time. If I wanted people to know that I went to a fancy school, I could put a photo of me wearing a Columbia sweatshirt or whatever, but I don’t because I don’t want people to think that’s important to me.
People who think they need an elitist app just need to work on their signaling.
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