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People are retrofitting niche social platforms for whatever they want

LinkedIn dating // Illustration by Kate Walker

People are retrofitting niche social platforms for whatever they want


Future. Welcome to the new boundaryless social media world, where users are using LinkedIn to find romantic partners and Tinder to sell products. It’s all a bid to game the system and stick out from the crowd in both love and business. Sociologically, it may demonstrate that no matter what guardrails they put in place, platforms will evolve to fit the strange needs of the culture at large.

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Many social platforms may be built to do one thing, but users are using them however they see fit… to the confusion of other users.

  • People on Tinder are going out on dates with matches, only to try to sell them something, while others are meeting their spouses on LinkedIn.
  • It’s a phenomenon that Jennifer Lundquist, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, comes from the “blurred nature of the online world” and “electronic confidence” that comes with interacting with people on it.

Lundquist says that it makes sense why people would want to find love on LinkedIn — the info is verifiable, you can see a lot about them, and you can even get a feel for their success.

Meanwhile, Tinder, in all its casualness, may come across as more flaky or unserious for something as important as finding a partner. And if someone is blown off by those unusual interactions, they “have fewer concerns about others judging them.”

LinkedIn’s and Tinder’s stance is the same: please only use the platform for its intended purpose, or you’ll be banned. The trouble is that those offenses are pretty hard to enforce.

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