I, Mat Smith, through the gift of working as a journalist here at Engadget, am verified. On both Twitter and Facebook. It's the social networks' way of certifying
that I'm better than the muggles that people are who they say they are. I get a ticket to digital VIP room. Am I somebody? Not really. But you get certain bragging rights when you have that blue tick next to your name. Now Tinder's jumped on the bandwagon: It, too, has verified profiles. To be clear, there's no honorable, journalistic reason for me to be verified, but when I joked about getting such a certification on the online dating app, I received a flood of direct messages asking for confirmation (skeptics!) and for advice on how they could get the same treatment. Can I get Tinder Famous? Do I even want to?
Like other social networks, Tinder points people to its site FAQ for questions on how it verifies accounts. "Only some public figures, celebrities and brands will be verified," it says. To the extent that you can link your Instagram account to your profile, it passes the buck somewhat to Facebook for authentication.
The confirmation process is otherwise a manual one: You shoot an email to email@example.com explaining why you should be verified. Ways to do this include showing you've been given the same treatment on other social networks, or by indicating that you're someone in the public eye. To all the celebrities reading this, you probably have plenty of evidence if you're really, actually famous. Tinder says it receives multiple requests a day. In response, the company takes a closer look at your background, fan base and other social media accounts before deciding if you get a verified badge. (At this point I get the feeling that I neither need nor qualify for Tinder's blue tick -- and didn't try to use nefarious media powers to claim verification)
Verified on Tinder.
— Mathew (@thatmatsmith) January 18, 2016
The Hollywood Reporter said that Lindsay Lohan and Ashton Kutcher are users -- and that Josh Groban is definitely not. Katy Perry said she used it at one point. And yet, I've not yet seen a blue tick while browsing in (I hope I don't sound desperate here) New York, London, LA or Tokyo. I'm not the only one who's found famous Tinder users conspicuous by their absence.
Multiple Tinder representatives told me that the company doesn't disclose figures on how many people have been graced with blue icons. It could be a very small number, or it could be that verified Tinderellas and Tinderfellas are quick to find long-term love. Maybe?
Before Tinder's verification system, I had seen famous people during my Tinder time-wasting, but I never swiped right ("yes") on these famous people, as I wasn't interested. There's always the huge seed of doubt that this isn't the person they say they are (the main reason for Tinder adding verification). Besides, it may be that many public figures don't want the extra attention that a social network gold star would confer. They might avoid verification because they're hoping it won't get in the way -- or fear the negative connotations that still pervade dating apps.
Perhaps, in the most naive of ways, famous people are just looking for love. That said, the famous people I've seen go for selfies and unpolished group pics. Katy Perry's not on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards, and Zac Efron isn't using a still with his top off from ... all those movies where he's topless at some point.
Even at my low level of writer fame -- and as my colleague "Laptop Lady" Dana can already attest to -- it's a weird experience meeting with someone who knows your work. I often drop my employer from dating profiles. I might want a more visible profile when it comes to my work life, but I don't need the same when it comes to dating.