Dawn’s guide to the odds of online dating

Well you can’t knock Channel4 for their number crunching, Matt Parker (stand up maths guy) sits with Dawn O’Porter and explains the odds of a decent match to Dawn. Something the Year of Making Love never really explored and got slated for by myself and others.

I’ve been thinking if online dating may be passing its prime as it passes into the mainstream myself. But its hard to get a grip due the lack of data out there. Dawn’s 1000 isn’t bad but you really need a much bigger sample than 1000 to really get a sense of whats happening out there.

Anyway in a previous episode Dawn had a list of do’s and don’t for online dating… I think most of them are similar or taken from Susan Quilliam (relationship psychologist) tips… Here’s the points

1. Be ready to date. If you’re not over a previous relationship or anxious and demotivated about going online, you’ll self-sabotage. Wait until you’re emotionally available, confident in yourself, ready to put in time and energy.

Absolutely… When I first got divorced I thought I was ready to push myself out there but in actual fact I was too early. Luckily the woman I met were nice enough to point this out to me.

2. Decide what you want first. The site you use, your profile and photo all need to be chosen to suit the partner and partnership you’re looking for. So before you ever go online, think carefully through your wants, needs, deal breakers.

Yes not all sites are the same, some are known for certain types of people and so you need to think long and hard or at least try a few before going forward. Its no good trying match.com and saying well it doesn’t bloody work. I would also add don’t be put off by free online dating. In actual fact I would swear by it for many reasons including that fear to do everything in one month before the credit runs out .

3. Ignore the numbers. No site – however huge their database – will bring you results if the site users aren’t your kind of people. Plus, the ones with big memberships can overwhelm you with numbers. Instead, trawl sites to find one you personally identify with.

Indeed, Match and e-harmony are well known and over subscribed with the kind of people who (I’m assume if your reading this blog) you don’t really want to date too often. Niche dating sites like Guardian Soulmates can be pointless because everyone signs up anyway. Think uniform dating advert.

4. Don’t sell – invite. Writing your profile shouldn’t be a marketing exercise. In fact, research suggests the more you major on “I”, the more you’ll actively put people off. Instead, welcome in prospective partners by writing warmly about the relationship you’d love to have with them.

Although this might be true, I would fight back with to sell is human. You can tell a lot by what someone wants and what they are selling about themselves. Inviting is good but sometimes you need to stand out from the crowd.

5. Choose a welcoming photo not a mug shot. Get a friend or a professional photographer to take hundreds of photos of you smiling and laughing. Then choose the ones where you look the most relaxed and approachable.

Absolutely… I’ve already talked to death about pictures never to use… It still shocks me the kind of thing people put in there dating pictures… For example I was scrolling through my ok cupid locals and was blown away by a woman putting/swallowing a beer bottle. Ok its unique but boy oh boy why oh why would you ever think it was the kind of thing you should use for your dating picture? And don’t get me started on white chicks and gang signs.

6. Don’t go shopping. Studies suggest that, when faced with too much choice in partners, we make decisions on irrelevant criteria, such as whether someone wears glasses. Instead, decide who to approach based on whether their profile lets you imagine having a good relationship with them.

This is something me and imran are interested in… The digitalisation of dating/mating and whats it doing to our brains our habits and the way we see each other. I really need to sit down and read dating in the age of algorithms. I’m sure Sherry Turkle author of alone together and Barry Schwartz author of the paradox of choice would have plenty to say about this whole thing too.

7. Get real – and get real early. Don’t fall for the spell of email and text – feeling close online says nothing about whether you’re compatible in real life. So talk on the phone and meet up as soon as you possibly can.

Ah yes the whole thing about certain people are far too comfortable with chatting from a far. Sites such as Howaboutwe.com are fighting back trying to urge members outside to meet each other but generally if your person you’ve been chatting to for a long (2 months) while refuses to meetup. Think Catfish?

8. Tell the truth. Most folk on dating sites are genuinely looking for love – if they’re not, they go to ‘hook-up’ or ‘married’ sites. But many people are also insecure, so tweak age, height or weight to make a good impression. It works best to be truthful – anything else creates a false start to love.

Yes the truth is the best place to work from. Yes I know lots people lie about there height, weight, job, etc but if you have that much of a problem about it. Just don’t put it down.

9. Don’t expect instant success. In everyday life you may meet hundreds of people at work, socially or by chance before you find someone to date. The same’s true online – it can take months of regular searching before you find a match.

Yes chill out, as I said to Northern Lass 32 from the Guardian

Chill and take your time, stop rushing and just let things wash over you as interesting experiences

It takes time and you should enjoy the time you have while single.

10. Ignore bad behaviour. Because online dating’s so new, we haven’t worked out the courtesies: for example, many people don’t respond to approaches made to them. So if you get snubbed, rejected or dumped, ignore it; not your fault.

I agree, move on. The rules are not set and even if they are for a small community. There is floods of newbies coming into the online dating industry. Some of them don’t understand how the internet works, some don’t understand socially what works. Just brush it off and move on…

11. Get support. Find a dating buddy, someone to help you through the tricky stages, support you through disappointment, celebrate your success.

A dating buddy? Hummmm not so sure about this one. Me personally think talk about your experiences with friends and family. Yes they will laugh at first but after a while they will become supportive in some way. Also think this isn’t a zero sum game. If you make a great new friend, you win. If you meet someone you never want to see again, well you kinda of win again. Just look at it all as experiences

As usual I found a myself with a request for my video via youtube’s system, should have used the same technique as I used on this video

Dear Mr Forrester,

Your video “dating data based on 1000 people“, may have content that is owned or licensed by Channel 4, but it’s still available on YouTube! In some cases, it may be blocked, or ads may appear next to it.

This claim is not penalizing your account status. Visit your Copyright Notice page for more details on the policy applied to your video.

Sincerely,
– The YouTube Team

Hopefully the advertising will be enough…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.