Effed Up Field Trips 2023 — Dating Apps, Instagram, & SnapChat

Sam Cliff
7 min readApr 14, 2023

After Facebook provided the catalyst for a depressed spouse to finally give up on a fulfilling life, time to explore what these platforms have to offer me…

Don’t Beat a Dead Horse

As the expression goes, I will not spend time here focusing on my serious and on-going concerns regarding Facebook. Feel free to check articles prior or just re-read the slugline at the top. Yes, after months and several discussions with other post-breakup people with mental health issues (yours truly had great counseling in 2022), it is clear my ex-wife’s Depression medication lost its punch after 10+ years. Refusing to address that issue and retreat further into the dopamine loop while being really alienated and unmotivated to do cool things…unless probably thinking about how it will look on Facebook.

The sad part is I’ve heard a stand-up comedy bit by Neil Brennan along this same line about women wanting to look “cute” as a general thing. Facebook is the same archetype of thinking. It’s just on 24/7/365 and in your pocket so goes everywhere with you…in line…in traffic…pretend that phone is a pack of cigarettes and every time you look at Facebook you’re consuming a cigarette, because that’s brain poison you’re injesting.

This article is post-breakup and many months of suffering but rebuilding and healing my own health — mental and physical both are top-flight though still works in progress, no doubt — and taking on new adventures out of necessity and personal drive. Forced from my home, my home is where my heart is and recently that’s 10+ cities in North Texas, one in Oklahoma, and about 20 different hotels and VRBO offerings. It is, without question, the polar opposite to my ex-wife’s goal of sitting at home on the couch watching reruns with her phone in her hand while I raise our child and cater to her like a servant.

Instead, free time and thoughts unclouded by intimidation and manipulation for once in many, many years, I can explore on my own terms. Of course the buzz around Tinder got me interested, and the iTunes store has a few others as well, two I’ll name are Bumble and Hinge. Following an overview of that realm, it’s over to Instagram issues and observations. SnapChat comes last because that’s the wildest pony in the room and I’m saving best for last.

When these chronicles are shared, the each section gives takeaways — considerations for concerned parents, educators, regulators, and financial operations — which are serious in nature. No profanity in this article so that its contents may be recognized as with strong intent.

Frankly…there is a lot more sadness in my heart after going through this than before I started, so here we go…

Dating Apps: Bumble, Hinge, & Tinder

So Bumble was the third I used in the series but the only one I crossed over into the sign-up for higher service level / potentially pay, so that’s to its credit in first impressions. Clean interface, nice to navigate responses to actually read them, and from what I saw, definitely age-appropriate region appropriate considerations to review. Running out of the ability to click Yes is in the free tier. One up, back in the numbers game of finding a match hopefully. When I leveled up the tier, the women to review seemed to actually improve based on my selections / trends / interests. Yet to get any real connection and will probably un-subscribe and abandon soon.

Tinder looks good and is full of two-photo-auto-no obviously bait profiles. So many it’s tiring to even think about keeping going sometimes. No interest in giving them any money. Seems kind of broken honestly. Can’t quite figure out why but if it does eventually work I’ll be surprised.

Saving the most interesting and depressing for last, there is Hinge. This one I played along with a suspicious profile — you know, too good to be true but reasonable English…at first. The strategy is to lead you off Hinge and onto WhatsApp or Telegram. Then things progress and jobs come up and I mentally slammed on the brakes when bitcoin entered the chat. Okay, now we’re for sure on this. Guess what?

Someone else was snared over to WhatsApp by this user as well, reported them to Hinge, and Hinge sent an official email of caution regarding that user.

Also a reminder to be safe or something. I don’t know whether to feel positive that yes, they’re attentive, or negative, in that if you thought I was going to pay you before, you’re out of your mind to think so after this. Simply not a good look and I do understand these folks are pretty good from time to time. More on that later.

The most depressing part of Hinge are the dozens of profiles for physically unattractive people that I feel their longing for companionship or communication or contact of some sort. These photos and some of the tone of the asking for someone to have in their life…bro, it’s breaking my heart writing about it now. It makes me remember the old school chat rooms where we didn’t have pictures or could share them and just found stupid ways to entertain ourselves. Sometimes go private. Sometimes get a little cray cray in private. Technology imitating life, that’s all.

So please be warned that depending on which platform you use, the offerings for review and consideration may really, really be off your tastes and it can be frustrating as well. These platforms purposefully limit your filters without payment to usually range in distance and age in years. That’s a really wide field in a place like North Texas, so keep that in mind and please, please be polite to one another.

Think of these places like a grocery store — to me, when browsing I don’t go out of my way to be rude or pick on people. Actually I try to live and let live as much as possible. Sometimes there’s an attractive person and I might make eye contact and share a moment, hopefully more. That eye contact is not an invitation to…that’s right…you know what we’re going to be talking about plenty…pictures of men’s privates.

There is no scenario where I would walk over, take out my phone, then happily show her a picture of my package. What is wrong with you guys?!

Instagram

Oh, I get what’s wrong. IG is basically a trash heap of stolen content of attractive women. Lots of people are working in that trash heap day in and day out making…bait accounts. Those poor little sweat shop workers and their broken English. Limited scripts too:

Easy to play them back with the wrong State / City combination and they simply run with it or say they are there too. Have you ever visited a place named San Diego, Missouri? I sure wonder if it’s real, because I tried my best to make up something ridiculous on the spot.

Again they want to go over to WhatsApp and try and get you to buy a meetup or content using CashApp. Again these teams can be pretty sophisticated, persistent, and decent in communication. They get several significant details wrong regularly though, and I don’t want to post them here to clue them in. Simple to spot though subtle. Exactly my kind of games to play and win. Win I did and have constructive notes now.

The only fun thing about Instagram is being able to tag corporations and entities like over at Twitter and rock their canoe. These billion dollar corporations really don’t like bad press for their bad conduct, the truth can be quite compelling and shocking from time to time to an audience, so social media has a bit of value. Metaphorically speaking, it’s like standing out in front of their HQ with a bullhorn and a sign and expressing your opinion, but you can get kicked off of Instagram a lot easier than arrested for a peaceful protest. Give and take situation I believe, so use accordingly.

Also beware that if legitimately dirt-poor poverty bothers you, watch out because communities in other nations use Instagram themselves and their world is, I’m guessing, wayyyyyyyyy different than yours while reading this article.

SnapChat

This thing is dangerous. Very addictive toys in the interface. Great tools for content creation. Wide variety of content to post. Take all the meme reposting from FB/Twitter/IG and cram it into SC, very similar style for a large number of users. Boring everyday FB posts are now on SC. Yay coffee.

The worst part is the compulsion to level up on content — impressions are a real thing — and it kind of works. I haven’t tried TikTok but I think SC scales UPWARD a lot worse whereas the other has kind of a time/length boundary maybe? Speaking of content, ladies, apparently there are so many pictures coming your way that the trend is to post them on SC. So, even if you’re not a dude sending those kind of pics, there’s a strong chance you’re going to see at least a few maybe a day just in the course of other people’s sharing. How charming.

Here’s the sad and depressing part — hearing these poor financially distressed not-really-employable women pleading for people to buy their content. Like some of the stories yo. I’m happy I’ll never have to see another one of those again. So many sweat shop bait accounts it’s a chore to learn proper humans exist there, and even then, can be hit or miss on answering the basic question:

“Why am I spending my time on this again?”

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Sam Cliff

Gonzo School of Journalism, BA & MA, Guitarist, OCTX, IG austin_on_guitar