NORMS BREACHING ASSIGNMENT: BREAKING SOCIAL NORMS ON TINDER
The purpose of this project is to break certain social norms on the famous hookup app Tinder. For those of you who do not know, Tinder is a matching mobile app where might message each other and meet up. If you think a person is attractive, you swipe right. If you do not believe a person is not your type, you swipe left. Tinder is one of the most popular apps in America today and is mainly used by college students so I thought it would be the perfect to use this social media outlet for this assignment.
I chose to break social media norms by using the Tinder app to find a baby sitter for my fictional three-year old brother.
Let’s Get it Started
The app requires you to sign in through Facebook so you can access your photos. You pick one of those photos to use as your profile picture. It tells you to give a bio of your interests to attract other users.
Here’s my profile
I kept the profile short and sweet. I did not want to have a long bio because I did not want to scare users away from matching me. I also did not want people to think I was a fake account because Tinder users with long bios are either spam or just really annoying people.
I limited my search to women because women babysit and work with children more than guys do. Also, Tinder now has a limited amount of free swipes so I have to take advantage of every swipe. I also know how to message women on tinder better than men. I have never messaged a man on tinder so I do not know how to bait them into a very strange conversation.
I made the age range 18–55+ so I could have more people to experiment with.
I swipe right most of the time during this experiment. I did not swipe right every time because I had a limited amount of swipes. I also did not want to conduct this experiment with woman from Saint Joseph’s University or from a local college because I did not want to run into them and have them remember who I am. I still got almost 60 matches so lack of matches was never an issue. I messaged most of my matches but most of them did not respond because I am not an attractive man.
I started most conversations by asking them if they want to talk. For example, I would start out saying phrases like “Hey. You seem like a cool cat! You want to talk?” or “Hey bud. Want to chat?” I would usually keep complementing them like “I like your photos” or “you look very beautiful.” I did this so I could lure them into to asking them to babysit my fictional three-year old brother. Later, I would ask them about what their favorite things to make the conversation seem somewhat normal. After I got them comfortable, I said that they look like they are good with working with children and asked them if they could babysit my fictional three-year old brother in the conversaton.
I pretended to be oblivious to the fact that Tinder is an app for hooking up and pretended that I thought it was a babysitter finding app.
The results varied a lot from person to person. Some of the subjects got angry, some of them were sarcastic and some of my subjects just ignored me.
Sarcasm (Person A and B)
Some users just went along with the joke and had fun with the conversation. Person A & B could tell I was joking and acknowledged that I was being very silly. Person A addressed this when she said that everything I said during the conversation did not make much sense.
Person B had a lot of fun with the conversation. She understood that I was joking and started poking fun at me.
She’s Getting Angry (Person C)!
Person C was probably my favorite because she took a very different approach compared to the other people I experimented with. Person C was the only person that got angry at me when I asked about babysitting my fictional brother.
“I’m not a personal nanny for strangers on tinder” is the best line of the entire experiment. That quote should be in a hollywood film. Needless to say, I was entertained by her many memorable quotes.
Person C took me very seriously when I told her to skip her service trip to babysit my fictional brother. I could tell that she was angry when she started putting words in all caps and telling me about the amount of money that she paid to go on her service trip. Apparently she did not understand that I was just joking.
Although she was angry, we patched things up by lying to her. I said that I was sorry and told her that my friend took my phone so he could message random people on Tinder. Person C and I are on good terms.
Ignoring me (Person D and E)
Some of the users were really boring. They just ignored my question and stopped responding to my messages. I think I may have been too aggressive on these messages because I brought up the babysitting question too early in the conversation. I could not tell whether Person though I was serious
I do not think that Person E took my messages seriously. She probably acknowledged in her head that this was a ridiculous and pointless conversation.
The purpose of the popular app Tinder is obviously to find attractive people to hookup or go on casual dates. I wrote a short bio because I did not want to make it obvious that I didn’t know what tinder was right off the bat. There is no reason for me to believe that Tinder is a babysitter finding app, which is why I was really happy and surprised by the results. I was happy that all my subjects dealt with the situation differently because the different reactions kept me on my toes and made the assignment very exciting. Judging by many of the results, most of the subjects did not acknowledge my question or consider babysitting my fictional brother.
The experiment taught me that every mobile app has a certain purpose and users either got angry or do not take me seriously when I did not follow the norms of the app. The norms breaching experiment shows people that they will get strange reactions when they use an app or social media outlet incorrectly. When I used Tinder incorrectly, I noticed that my subjects thought I was crazy, stupid, and extremely persistent with my antics. When I brought up my fictional brother, I noticed the decline of normal human interaction. The assignment also taught me that people should look up the app and understand the function of the app before using it.
My experience on Tinder reminded that not understanding norms on social media is very similar to not understanding the basics of human interaction. Similar to social norms in life, norms on the internet are set in stone and require common sense. If I break either type of norm, the people around me will treat me like I am crazy and get irritated with my actions. The only difference between the two norms is that people would probably suffer much worse consequences for breaking social norms in real life than breaking norms online.
In conclusion, I now understand that I need to use social media outlets only for their purpose because people will get uncomfortable and treat me like I am an outcast for breaking norms. Also, following norms prevent negative confrontations and misunderstandings from happening.