Amy Webb: How I hacked online dating
TED/Amy Webb Writer and futurist Amy Webb left her first few online dates One of the problems Webb found with online dating was that she. TED - Oct - Amy Webb liked the idea of online dating algorithms. After one bad date left her in a restaurant with a $ bill she created. Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating. February 11, by Jennifer Dutcher. Amy Webb used data science to find love. After a difficult breakup of a.
Developing a set of algorithms is the start. Equally important is the data itself.
It turns out that the design of a dating website and how it manages data collection is significantly more important than the algorithms alone in determining successful matches. Dating sites require a steady stream of user data in order to function.
They're hungry beasts that need constant feeding. How we enter our information and create our profiles is what differentiates each one of the dating services. All of the major players in the online dating space tout their super-fantastic algorithms. But if technology has become as sophisticated as we know it to be today, why is it still so difficult to match us with our soul mates?
Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Dating To Meet My Match Excerpt | HuffPost
It turns out that one key variable—and this is a big one—is still just as capricious and as undependable as it was when the very first computer dating services launched nearly five decades ago. The people entering data into these systems are precisely what make them not work.
When I first started online dating, I was faced with an endless stream of questions. In response, I was blunt, honest, and direct. Then my patience started to wear thin, so I clicked on what I thought sounded good. Sure, I like strong men who work with their hands.
And then I started questioning my interpretation of the questions, as well as the answers I'd been giving. Is this site really asking me if I'd be willing to date a lumberjack? They're strong and work with their hands. But I don't want to marry a lumberjack. I don't even like trees that much. The data story ends in a proposal in Jordan. Amy Webb Many of us answer the questions on dating sites aspirationally rather than honestly.
We think about idealized versions of ourselves and paint a skewed profile, often not on purpose, but because these sites are designed to make us feel great about ourselves.
Amy Webb: How I hacked online dating
If we don't enjoy the experience of entering our own user data, then the system will have less information to parse and ultimately too little content to push through its algorithms. Think about the way you've set up your Facebook profile. And if you don't use Facebook, instead think about how you've described yourself to new people you've met recently.
You list your favorite foods, bands, books. You talk about cities you want to visit. These aren't meaningful data points; they're stylized nuggets of information meant to personify ourselves in a formulaic way to others. A Facebook profile is in many ways an outfit we wear and the accessories and cologne we put with it: Dating sites and the algorithms they advertise purport to sort through our personalities, wants, and desires in order to connect us with our best possible matches.
Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Dating To Meet My Match Excerpt
Which means that we've outsourced not just an introduction, but the consideration of whether or not that man or woman is really our ideal. We're putting our blind trust in a system that's meant to do the heavy lifting of figuring out what it is that we really want out of a mate, and what will truly make us happy. This job is being processed using the information that we, ourselves, have entered into a computer system. In fact, I usually wound up talking to at least one new guy if I was out with friends.
Before Henry, I'd dated plenty of men, and I'd rarely initiated contact. I was outgoing, I was smart, and I was funny. Online, I may not be as immediately competitive as EaglesFan32B, but that was simply because I wasn't going to upload a photo of myself standing on the beach in a bikini. What did all of these women share in common? They were all very active on the site, had been favorited many times, and were highly rated profiles. Maybe it was language?
I considered how they described themselves: How can you rally against laughing? Who feels politically opposed to sunshine? It seemed that the profiles were all upbeat, positive, and fairly generic. Maybe there was a secret formula the popular crowd used, possibly without even realizing it? Were these women the same way in real life?
When you met them, were they enthusiastic without being overbearing? Were they agreeable, nonspecific, perpetually cheery? It occurred to me that I'd actually had this conversation before, more than a dozen times. When a male friend would introduce me to a HottieDC or a Happy, I'd politely chat with her for a few minutes and then immediately find a way to escape the tedious, tired small talk.
Obviously, my friends were looking to get laid -- what else could they possibly want with women like that? The answer was easy, and it was the same every time, regardless of which one of my friends it was.
These women were approachable.
They weren't a challenge. They seemed easy to date. Easy to get along with. Friendly, outgoing, and fun. It's what I called "Cameron Diaz Syndrome. In There's Something About Mary, she played the cheery, optimistic, girl-next-door-who's-also-a-model archetype desired by men everywhere.
She loved football and was so egregiously nice she got duped into dating an Australian con man and a psychopath with a skin condition. Under no real-world circumstance would a woman this gorgeous, this successful, and this hilarious spend the majority of her time with such a sad group of misfits.
But Hollywood would have us believe otherwise. Cameron Diaz tends to play a likable, spontaneous, easy-to-date woman on screen. Hell, even in still photos of her, she seems carefree. Ready to be everyone's best friend. She can hang with the guys but is still secure enough to spend lots of time apart when asked. Also -- importantly --she's thin, blond, and always showing skin.
The problem, of course, is that Cameron Diaz is a movie star playing a well-honed type of character. In the real world, Cameron Diaz was thirty-three and had been bouncing from man to man while gossip magazines ruminated on whether or not she'd ever get married. Even Cameron Diaz couldn't land a committed relationship.
I knew that while genetics played a big role in how we look, that sense of ease and quiet confidence was something that could be cultivated. Most of us -- especially women -- tend to undersell ourselves. We're taught that being direct about our achievements is tantamount to bragging. And as women, we're reminded that men aren't interested in competing with us.
That we should admire what they do overtly, but keep our accomplishments private.
I didn't want someone who would be intimidated by who I was and what I did. Surely there was room for honesty? I wondered how JewishDoc might perceive the Yozora version of me, based on the original JDate profile I'd posted and within the context of all these other women.
I sat down, grabbed my notepad, and started sketching. On the right, I wrote my name and copied down the most prominent highlights from my profile. On the left, I wrote HottieDC and listed the major points of her profile. As I looked at both sides of my paper, it didn't take long to see how what I'd written might be off-putting.
And then I considered my profile photos. I'd made a conscious decision to select these three photos. In the first, I was snuggling our family dog, which I thought made me seem like an easygoing pet lover. But now, looking at that photo on the JDate page, all I could see was Bailey's dirty, strange fur and wonder what it was attached to. I knew the second wasn't flattering at all, but it showed me at work, speaking at a prestigious conference to a huge crowd of people.
In the third, I was still in grad school at Columbia University, standing next to the Alma Mater statue. I'd done my makeup well that day and my skin looked really radiant.
I'd received a few compliments from strangers, and one woman even asked me where I got my facials. Looking now with a fresh perspective, I realized that my photos were yet another detriment.
I went deeper into JDate, clicking beyond the popular profiles and through to pages 19, 20, and 21, where the listings become more random.