More detailed Tinder story, and how it inspired to launch Spontime.
After posting Spontime Founder Karolina’s ‘Tinder’ story, we’ve received a lot of e-mails from you asking for more details. Here you go – the story with more details 🙂
*All the screenshots were taken 3 years ago, before Spontime was founded. Karolina has been taking screenshots for her own personal reference.
I’ve traveled to nearly 40 countries – backpacking, vacations, or spontaneous weekend trips. Every summer I have worked or interned in a different location, just to immerse myself in different cultures. Since my Senior year of high school, I’ve spent summers in New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Greenwich, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, just to name a few.
Through my experiences, I’ve always encountered the same challenge – actually meeting people. These are big cities, and we go in thinking it’d be easy to make new friends. There are events and meetups happening all the time, different bars to visit, live music shows, and thousands of people just like me. There are also event apps such as Meetup or Eventbrite, which I also tried. But actually getting to know people in these environments is not an easy task. You can exchange your phone numbers, Facebook profiles, Instagram handles, or business cards, but it’s not the easiest way to actually get to know a person – they are very impersonal. Sure they give us a chance to look at someone else’s life, see what they’re up to or what they’re interested in, but why do we want to know all the fun stuff before we even meet face to face?
Individual or small group meetings for coffee, drinks, or lunch, are what actually help us build connection and get to know each other. These settings have less pressure, less noise pollution, and offer a more intimate experience. I was never into Meetup or other organized events that are supposed to help you meet people in a new city (e.g. book clubs, dance classes etc.). I didn’t feel I could connect with others individually, since large groups can be overwhelming.
My strategy to meet people has been Tinder and other apps. I met many wonderful people with whom I spent time during my work or internships and still keep in touch with. But the process of actually meeting them and getting to know them was not easy… I went through a lot of “hey baby, did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”, or conversations that seemed to be going somewhere, but were never followed through with.
To be clear, I was using Tinder purely to meet people, which in itself created the pressure and expectation of something more than friendship. I wasn’t looking for a one-night hookup (so half of the matches had to be removed) or a boyfriend. I wanted to get together, have lunch or coffee, or walk around a town with someone that I could connect with. It was a hard concept for others to understand. “Why are you on a dating app if you just want to meet friends?” “Can’t you just go out and meet people?” “This is for x audience only!”. You think it wouldn’t be that hard…but I constantly found myself stuck in this loop.
Before I start, here’s my profile from 3 years ago (so that you know it is a real story).
I had 2091 matches. I chatted with less than a half of them, but the conversation usually fizzled out within 1-3 days. I was sick of investing in conversations that died out after the word friendship came up.
I chatted ‘long-term’ (up to a week – so that i remembered their name and knew who they were) with around 100. I met with maybe 20. Sure, 20 is a good number, but I was using this app in many different cities, states, even countries. Talking to 100 was exhausting over this period of time, only for it to result in a 20% success rate.
Then, curiosity kicked in, I began to do some research of how many matches actually meet. The average is 0.8%.... 0.8% of already matched people. So there’s less than 1% of chance you’re actually going see your match and form any sort of connection. We’re all guilty of chatting for a bit then dropping it when a more appealing match comes in, or maybe we just get bored with small talk. One thing we can all agree on though, is that it’s not a ‘meeting’ app, it’s more of a ‘chatting’ app.
It made me think of how Tinder and other ‘dating/meeting apps’ work. Here is how the process usually looks like:
- Matching – spent a significant amount of time just looking for matches. Let’s say you swipe right on 10% of people you see, it may kill boredom, but it can be quite time consuming and frustrating browsing all the profiles. I know too many people who use the app just to pass time on the train, between classes, or mostly sitting on the toilet. (hey, I’ve gotten some of my best matches in the bathroom!)
- ‘Waiting’ time – Wait until the other person starts the conversation – even up to a couple days/weeks. Well, you don’t actually ‘wait’, but it’s just the idea that it takes time to actually start talking. Some people message you after 2 weeks of matching (.e.g when I already moved out…). You can of course start the conversation, but there is also a wait time with their responses. Sometimes, people don’t ever respond or reach out, so they just sit in the match queue. I would say about 80% respond, and 20% don’t.
- Pick up lines – I wish we could skip this part… it’s funny how after one line you often realize, swiping right was probably a mistake… Another 30% out.
I could have posted many more, but I figured I would keep it light. I appreciate the effort in reaching out first, but as women we all know what the intentions of most of these lines are.
4. Chit-chat – undoubtedly, the worst part. There’s barely a meeting without a never-ending chat conversation beforehand. The conversation is usually pointless and goes to nothing – one side usually stops the conversation (maybe they found a better ‘match’ and are not interested anymore?).
There are 3 types of chit-chats:
a) straight to the point – i like those the most, at least you don’t waste much time
b) completely pointless conversations, that usually end up very quickly
c) ‘How are you’ or ‘what’s up’ conversations – these might be the most boring conversations, you get asked the same question 100 times over by a person you’ve never met and don’t really feel like describing your day to a random person (well i guess maybe it’s an American thing to ask a random person ‘what’s up’..)
Where do we go from here?! Hi, hey, what’s-up? not much, you? nothing…. *crickets*. Great chat!
d) never-ending conversations that never end up in a meeting… Or as I like to call them, conversational black holes. You talked for couple days/weeks and there are still no plans to hang out…that is until they find out it’s your last night in town. Why the sudden interest now that you know I’m leaving?
Worst cases are the ones when you talk, talk, talk, or even scheduled a meeting, and it goes straight to this…
And even though we’d all love to skip a chit-chat part, if a guy asks you out right away, it doesn’t always seem so genuine. Why is meet up culture so hard?!
Even if you like talking with the person, long-term digital conversations and too much time spent on the app can give you a headache.
*Again, sometimes you get an offer to meet right away, but I was not looking for these kind of meetings. Especially if you get one at 2am at night.
- Meeting request – one side finally asks the other one out and then… no response. Or they agree, but constantly postpone the meeting. Or schedule a meeting for next week. Or schedule a meeting and the person stops responding or even worse, does not show up. As the American’s say, “Ghosting”.
- Meeting – YAYY, you finally meet! Although I had a great time on the meetings, it took a lot of time until we actually met – Brandon 6 days; Michael – 14 days! None of us did anything wrong – this is just the usual process which just takes too much time. If you are trying to meet people while traveling, time is of the essence! Sometimes I am not in certain cities for 14 days. You can see the issue here.
Unfortunately, meetings can also turn out to be a disaster. And it’s ok – no one promised your match will be a successful match. But it makes you more frustrated that you’ve spent so much time online only to realize the whole online conversation and making plans had a dead end.
This is what happened after one meeting (look at the dates and time of sent messages)…
In addition to this never-ending and exhausting process of matching and chatting and planning meet ups and crossing your fingers it actually works out, it feels nearly impossible to ever find someone looking for the same thing you are. These are the most common people on Tinder:
- Those, looking for a one-night stand. At least some guys are honest and straightforward, so that you don’t have to waste time responding back. Straight to the point, and as we know it, DTF (down to …well you know..)
- Travelers, who are looking for travel advice. This one is totally fine, but again, not able to make connections with these types of people since they aren’t looking to meet up or be friends, but rather know the local hangs.
- Travelers leaving next day/week who want you to make their time in the city more enjoyable. If we had more time, it would have worked out!
- Those who talk, and talk, and talk, and ask questions about EVERYTHING, but never ask you to meet up… maybe they are looking for digital friends? Or maybe just lazy.
- Those who live in a completely different town or country. Tinder plus came out and added the travel anywhere feature, great concept, but deceiving for others! Again, looking for digital friends?
- Those who are bored and have nothing to do with their time. They treat Tinder like entertainment.
- Those looking for long-term relationships. There were situations where I would only be in town for a few weeks or a month, and didn’t want to commit to anything, so i preferred not to meet at all in order to avoid setting any expectations up for others. I just wanted to meet new friends and have new experiences. And if I accidentally fall in love, then fine, but I wasn’t searching for that.
- People like me, who want to meet new people. Unfortunately when you ask to meet right away it can sometimes scare the other person off, or as a girl you may give an impression of being too desperate.
- Those I will never understand and actually don’t know what they’re looking for on Tinder
This is why, in my opinion, Tinder is extremely unsuccesful at forming new connections. I have 2091 matches:
Out of these 2091 matches I met 19 people in total over the period of 3 years. Yes, the meetings are usually nice and fun, but was it really necessary to spend so much time going through all these matches, chats and headaches? Why couldn’t we just make the whole process much faster? The necessity to respond to all these messages so that you can MAYBE meet with one of these people is truly frustrating.
I don’t want to judge anyone on Tinder, I completely understand those looking for a travel guide or a one-night hookup, it’s a natural human thing. It just doesn’t make sense for all of us to match and chat with someone who’s looking for a completely different thing, only to realize after some time that it’s not going to work out, regardless of intentions.
Finally, I got tired of travelling and spending a significant amount of time on swiping and getting into conversations that usually went nowhere. I realized I spent too much time on Tinder chatting, versus the time I actually met people from Tinder in real life. Isn’t (almost) everyone using Tinder to actually meet up with people?
One day I opened Tinder, and I gave up. Saw 50 messages, and was just too tired to respond to all of them – I knew that out of these 50 matches, i would probably meet 1 or 2. I was tired of the same process.
Tinder might help you meet new people, but these apps consume a significant amount of our time which we’re spending glued to an app instead of spending time together in real life. And that’s not the point – I don’t use Tinder to have digital friends, but to meet people. And there’s less than 1% chance that you will actually meet!
To make it easier for both sides, I thought there should be an app that will allow you to skip the whole matching and chatting part, and give you the option to just meet right away. Guys will not have to think about creative pick up lines and wait for the right moment to ask a girl out. Girls will not have to put up with chit-chats and ambiguous questions.
That’s how I got the idea for Spontime. To actually meet people. So all these people on Tinder who visit a new city and need a guide, want to chill with a local, or just feel bored and want to meet with someone new for drinks, could create a meetup in the app and people could join them. Right away.
There are hundreds of bored people around us looking for new adventures, connections, and fun. It was time to give everyone access to a good time.
At first I thought it would be useful for those who travel or move to another place and don’t know a single soul, (like me). But then I realized it’s perfect for anyone who wants to find a fun activity anywhere and anytime. Maybe they have a 2 hour break between classes and prefer to spend this time with others rather than on their phones/laptops.
So turn the process upside – down. First you say what you want to do today and let the person join you. If you match – you meet TODAY, and you get to know each other during the meeting in real life (like it used to be many years ago) and then decide if you want to keep in touch and spend more time talking and chatting online..
How Spontime works:
- Post what you’re up to
- Let people around you join you
- Match and meet TODAY
Or just see what people around you are up to and join them. Maybe someone down the street feels like going jogging or having lunch? You never know!
That’s all. No need to chat, schedule, and wait days or weeks until you actually meet. Of course you can see the profile of the person with whom you meet and chat to discuss the details of your meeting, but your connection starts from the meeting.
In the end, we all use these apps because we want to meet in real life, right? Let’s skip the online part then, and go straight to the meeting. Offline 🙂