Typically, one would not imagine that Tinder would be a place to find leads for stories, but that's exactly what 247Sports' Thomas Goldkamp found on Thursday, when he came across Florida mascot Alberta's Tinder profile.
Curious in my own right, I set out to swipe (spoiler alert: I'm single) until I found Ms. Gator — and I did, just a few swipes into Gainesville's pool of women.
Hilariously, the person behind this — clearly someone with Florida's blessing, and likely someone in the UAA, given the verified check that Tinder doesn't just give out — has the full six pictures up for Alberta. They include a shot of her relaxing by Lake Alice, pink toes on display, a picture of her jumping for joy in a tunnel at The Swamp, and this admittedly very amusing shot from the infamous MySpace angle.
This is, certainly, Good Internet, or something, because I'm writing about it and I'm sure people are going to click and share this post. It's funny, the idea of a mascot joining Tinder — but Oregon pulled off an even more committed version of this with their duck mascot. And sports teams have used Tinder to get a little shine, as the Atlanta Hawks did earlier this year with a "Swipe Right Night."
But here's what happened when I swiped right on Alberta.
Click the link in that message, and you get a link to Twitter, with this auto-populated tweet:
You won't believe who I saw on @Tinder! #SwipeRightAlberta
Want to guess how many tweets have used that hashtag, ever? How about zero as of the press time of this post?
Maybe, juuust maybe, that's because people — mostly guys, in theory, though Tinder just asks users if they want to display only men, only women, or men and women — who are swiping right on a joke profile don't want to tweet out that they're doing that? Maybe it's because there's no practical benefit to a "brand" Tinder account existing if all it's going to do is ask those who match it to send a tweet?
I also found it a little bit disappointing that I couldn't find a corresponding Albert account when I switched over to looking for only men. I swiped a few dozen dudes to the left, but the only green and scaly things I found were the fish that are in every fifth profile picture. (Some memes are just true!) I'd guess women might actually find an Albert more amusing, too, so if Albert's truly not there — if I didn't just fail to find him — that feels like a missed opportunity.
And so, as it is, I'm left to write "Florida's mascot Alberta is on Tinder," and leave it like that. I can't write "Alberta is on Tinder, and talking about football" or "Alberta is on Tinder, looking for a date to Florida's opener," though both of those stories would be much more interesting. I can write that I feel a little sorry for the poor UAA staffer who clearly spent a while swiping right and pre-populating messages for the folks game enough to swipe right on Alberta — but that's just empathizing with folks with better intentions than executional skills.
The good news: There's a chance, and maybe a good chance, that this won't be the entirety of this saga. While I can't imagine virtually no response is what Florida wanted, there's time left to pivot, and it's possible that we're only seeing the first bit of a more elaborate campaign. I hope that's the case.
But for now, Florida? Stick to Snapchat. Y'all are good at that.