Politicians

Politicians on Grindr! And Another Taboo Crumbles

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Social media just lends itself to politics. Facebook has become a place for some elected officials to be more transparent, while Twitter allows others to gauge their popularity and (more importantly) entertain the rest of with their endless gaffes, typos, and ill-conceived thoughts. Now, if lawmakers really want to stay on top of the game, they may want to register for the gay dating app Grindr.

That's what two Dutch politicians, Jan-Bert Vroege and Pieter Rietman, are doing in preparation of local elections on March 19.

Reuters reported last week:

"We are very fond of new technology and new media," Jan-Bert Vroege, an openly gay candidate for the D66 party, told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We are also into making Amsterdam a lively gay destination—and using Grindr we can get that message to all the gay people of Amsterdam."

Vroege's Grindr profile asks "Have I got a date with you on March 19?" but he stresses he is only offering chats, not dates.

[…]

"We've been doing this for two days, and in the first night I got 35 connections … People thought this was a great way to bring attention to the elections and D66," said Vroege.

The app may end up being a great tool to bring politicians closer and more responsive to constituents. Vroege told Vice magazine, "It's not just about getting your message out there; it's more about listening to what people want to say to you."

Because Grindr relies on GPS technology to pinpoint nearby singles (or, in this case, voters), this "method of connecting users might make it perfect for a local election," suggests Tim Sampson of The Daily Dot.

Whether Grindr catches on has yet to be seen. Someone could easily develop a localized, single-demographic app specifically for political. But in the meantime, Vroege's and Reitman's use of Grindr helps wear away at the taboo of politicians' personal lives, particularly those using gay dating sites–which has cost at least one his career in the past.  

Read Reason's Scott Shackford on how technology has helped mainstream the LGBT community in the U.S.

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  1. Our politicians don’t have to register on Grindr to F us in the A.

    1. Heh. Good one.

    2. At least if they did they’d be honest about their intentions.

  2. Who the heck comes up with all that crazy smack? Wow.
    http://www.Anon-VPN.com

  3. the D66 party,

    If only that number were slightly different…

  4. Because Grindr relies on GPS technology to pinpoint nearby singles (or, in this case, voters), this “method of connecting users might make it perfect for a local election,” suggests Tim Sampson of The Daily Dot.

    Jesus effing christ. I guess we don’t live in that homophobic a world.

    “I’m gay, I’m single, and I’m available, and this is where I am, exactly, right now!”

    1. AND QUITE SPYING ON ME!

      1. Pablo, while not a Grindr user the similar service I use doesn’t give location coordinates or vectors; only distance. So, yeah, a dedicated person could triangulate your location with some precision.

        Also, quite the funny typo. Heh.

        1. Yeah, after I hit submit I was all, “That’s unintentionally funny”.

          I do think services (and the willingness of people to use them) does say something about our willingness to make our private information public.

          But speaking to your comment, even distance would make me uncomfortable. I would think “There’s a gay person 53′ away” would make the users uncomfortable.

          1. The service I use only gives measurements in miles, seemingly with a 0.5 mile resolution. The only time I’ve seen people 0.0 miles away was people in the same bar.

    2. I don’t quite get the connection there. Not that I think the world is currently THAT homophobic, but how does the existence of Grindr comment on any way on the existence of homophobia?

      Also straight people have wised up to GPS-based “social networking” with Tinder, which was apparently quite popular in the Olympic Village this year.

      1. I think Pablo’s contention was that if the world were full of people intent on gay-bashing that Grindr (etc) would be an excellent tool in furtherance of those activities. Which it might have been fifty years ago when law enforcement would turn a blind eye to assaults on gay people that were in any way related to their being gay.

        1. Ed Zachary.

          I mean, I’m completely unremarkable in every way, and I wouldn’t want my real-time location available to the general public.

      2. I don’t quite get the connection there. Not that I think the world is currently THAT homophobic, but how does the existence of Grindr comment on any way on the existence of homophobia?

        The connection I’m making is that making your sexual orientation and your location open to the public in real time might invite violence upon you. If the threat of homophobic violence were lurking around every corner, I would think (I would think) that you’d want to be a little more careful coupling those two pieces of information.

        The fact that people are willing to do this and share their location with anyone else who’s registered with Grindr makes me think the level of threat is minimal.

        I mean, insert any other subgroup in there. “I’m carrying a gun, and I’m right here, right now.” isn’t something I’d want to advertise.

        1. Ah. It doesn’t give coordinates and at least with Grindr there’s a fairly large margin of error introduced on close proximity. From my office I can usually guess if someone is staying at the Marriott a few blocks away or at the mall across the street, but I wouldn’t be able to hunt them down.

          As Tonio mentions, I could probably triangulate your location, but it would only be accurate to about half a mile. If you live in a rural enough area that this could be an issue, and if you have privacy concerns you can hide your distance so that people can only see your relative distance to other users (this feature is can be toggled with all of the GPS-based services that I’m aware of).

          1. I would have bet that you were more of a Scruff kinda guy. 🙂

            1. You would have bet correctly. I pop onto Grindr very occasionally. Scruff is definitely more my speed (and is less of a monstrous battery hog).

          2. Ah. It doesn’t give coordinates and at least with Grindr there’s a fairly large margin of error introduced on close proximity. From my office I can usually guess if someone is staying at the Marriott a few blocks away or at the mall across the street, but I wouldn’t be able to hunt them down.

            So, ok, serial question, what does the location information provide? Ie, what value is it to the other users? Is it about density? (“Wow, there are a LOT of gay people over there” or “Jesus, this scene is dead!”)

            1. Density information is actually very interesting. My user list maxes out at 50 which from home is 4 miles (coincidentally where the LA airport is) and from my grandparent’s place in rural NY is about 120 miles (the closest guy was 8 miles and sketchy beyond words). If you fire it up at the LAX (ringed with hotels full of business travelers looking for a bit of strange) you max out at about 1200 feet.

              Mostly the rough distance is handy for “Is this person worth driving 6 miles in LA traffic to meet?”

              1. Ok, so you see someone is 300 yards from you, so then you contact them through the app?

                1. And when you’re done explaining that, if you could give me a breakdown of this whole ‘facebook’ and ‘twitter’ thing, that would be great.

                  1. if you could give me a breakdown of this whole ‘facebook’ and ‘twitter’ thing, that would be great.

                    Fuck if I know. My roommate LOVES twitter, but I can’t fathom the appeal.

                2. If you’re interested. I’ve had a lot of purely social experiences with these types of apps too:

                  I have lunch with a Swiss guy who works two buildings down. I’ve carpooled up to SF with a guy who works two blocks away, and I’ve been helping a guy who lives a mile-and-a-half away become a better baker.

                  1. If you’re interested.

                    I can’t imagine in a million years a fancy, saucy straight woman seeing my profile and clicking the ‘yes’ button if I were within 100 miles. But conceptually, I’m interested.

                3. Again, doesn’t have that type of resolution.

                  For me I use it to screen out people who message me who are located outside my dating boundary.

                  So, yeah, that guy from Akron who is in town for business – might meet for a drink. That guy in Jordan with really bad english who proposes on the first message – BLOCK.

                  1. For me I use it to screen out people who message me who are located outside my dating boundary.

                    Wow… to be young and attractive. My “dating boundary” is “has a pulse and can be reached by land, sea or air.”

            2. For me the most useful distance information is whether the person is local or not when somebody new messages me.

      3. How does that Tinder app fuction? Do young women really announce “I’m 500feet from you and available”?

  5. Another social media outreach effort totally missed by Republicans.
    I blame former-Senator Larry Craig

    1. +1 Toe Tap

    2. I envision a social-media app called WideStance.

      1. Paul, you have no idea…

  6. Vroege’s Grindr profile asks “Have I got a date with you on March 19?” but he stresses he is only offering chats, not dates. His profile says he is 37, 1.82 metres (5ft 12 inches) tall, weighs 76 kilograms (168 lbs) and has a partner.

    1.82 metres (5ft 12 inches)

    Before I go assuming that Reuters editors were not checking, perhaps Vroege is 5 feet tall and 12 inches.

    1. Could also be the online conversion site or software they’re using, or unfamiliarity with imperial measurements.

      Popular site onlineconversion dot com converts meters to decimal feet (ie, 1.82 meters is 5.97 feet) or decimal inches (1.82m = 71.7in), but not to feet plus inches.

  7. The politicization of everything continues.

  8. I’ve always thought that D-66 was the international social-liberal political party that is closest to the American Democrats. Or perhaps what the Democrats would be if they were disengaged from the labor movement.

    1. I’m not exactly sure. I think there’s a location range and it pulls up profiles of the opposite sex within that location range and asks would you meet or no. If you both say yes it sends you a notification.

      1. This D-66 party is way more exciting than I thought.

        1. I’m not sure how that got there. It was supposed to be a response to NaL’s question about Tinder.

  9. Surely the Democratic National Committee or either the Democrat Senate or House election committees will buy ad space during the 2016 election cycle on either Grindr or Scruff.

    The campaigns can pop up suggestions when a gay voter is near a rally or speaker or even polling place.

    Other geolocating apps could do the same thing, however 4Square or the like would run the risk of annoying 40-50 % of their client base.

    For the gay apps at least 75-80% of their users are Democratic voters so there would be no less room for conflict.

  10. The oldest profession and the second oldest profession get one step closer to singularity.

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