Exposing online dating lies with burritos

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It started as a April Fools’ Day Prank but it may have exposed something they never talk about online dating. The truth that the matching algorithms are actually rubbish

Almost every major dating site (including several Burrit-oh took a swipe at in a press release) touts the importance of sophisticated matching algorithms. They’re praised as the most effective way to pair people based on some “deeper” measure of interests or personality that guarantee “real” compatibility.

But Burrit-oh? Well, it’s anything but sophisticated. The algorithm is as basic as it gets, and it’s built on the flimsiest of foundations, and yet… users are still hitting it off. This supports the finding, long promoted by social scientists, that matching algorithms aren’t really science – they’re just good marketing. Behold, the unbeatable power of the burritos.

Burrit-oh, exposes the fact that once you connect people around something (burritos, beards, film tastes, journey to work, type of phone, almost anything) they find interesting (social object style). The chances they will fall for each other; birthday paradox style as much as the custom expensive algoithms. Aka those custom algorithms most of the dating sites go on about so much is bollox and what are you paying?

Is a truly blind date a real thing?

Blind Date 2

Mr30notsoflirty recently wrote about The magic of a blind date, which I had some thoughts about. Too many to put in a tweet.

These days, blind dates have become a rare commodity. In an age of social media, it’s so easy to share a photo or run a little background check on Google or Facebook. You can’t even search on Tinder without judging someone based on your so-called FB friends.

A truly blind date has become an endangered species… you actually have to try hard to maintain that mystique, that surprise, the opportunity to meet someone you know nothing about…. with no judgments or preconceptions, just the excitement of the unknown.

I read this and laughed a little, only because I was about to go one hell of a first date. No idea who she was where she was from or anything. However I do get mr30’s main point, it’s easy and very tempting to Google the person. I mean why wouldn’t you? Knowledge is power right?

Yes its power but it certainly encourages creeping thoughts too.

There have been women who have googled me, as I tend to use cubicgarden for most things.

I tend to prefer the this me, love me or hate me; although I totally understand identity is fluid and in certain contexts you may want to adopt a different identity.

Anyway sometimes I find out they have made up their mind on something they have read. No chance to reply just see you later. It’s a shame for them really; this is why I’m a little more flexible about these things. Heck I have ignored somethings as I don’t want to judge too harshly, giving the other person a chance at least. I know most people are not like me. That’s why I’m sympathetic to what Mr 30 has written.

Serendipity is great (it makes us so feel alive, even if we are living it through others I guess) and that’s what makes blind dates exciting.

I’m hearing Mr 30, but question how blind the dates are there is a someone/something doing some filtering and matching on something. Even if random, each person usually want to know why they should go along. Even if it’s the verbal/written equivalent of “she/he/they are perfect for you.” (I could delve into the match maker expert/algorithms problem but won’t today).

Can you imagine, the opposite? “Well she/he/they are a random single person, it could work?” No neither can I…!

I once went on a first date purely on the notion the woman needed to fulfill a dating quota for a wager. Never met her before, never ever heard of her… But it was the connection with the sister, which I had met before; which had me convicted. Any member of this family must be worth a first date. And no I didn’t Google her… I should put that date up on dating yarns.

Was it truly/totally blind? Well I guess, most would say yes but there’s always something connecting or a relation. How strong that is dependant on the threshold of the people/end points. If we are talking about truly blind then that threshold needs to be zero… ha! Now that would be interesting. Although I know friends who have contacted people on OKCupid with the highest enemy percentage for kicks and giggles.

I contest, there never was truly blind dates, there’s always something which connects you. it’s just hope low your threshold can handle.

No compelling evidence online dating algorithms work

Shoreditch dating backlash?

Herb highlighted this on Facebook the other day. It seems to be some shoreditch protest against online dating. I couldn’t find anything else about it, so it might all be a flash in a very small pan but they have good reason to protest.

I quoted in my Primeconf Best of British talk

There is no compelling scientific research indicating online dating algorithms work.

This fact has not been lost on many others. I’m not saying online dating isn’t a bad way to meet someone (heck I still use it) however the chances are about the same as meeting someone on any of the other social networks, chatrooms, forums, etc

Online dating simply connects people, but so does Facebook, twitter, Google+, etc, etc… and they are free to use (yes they use and sell our data but at least they don’t do that and charge us for the privilege!)

The compelling part reminds me of what Derren Brown was talking about at the infamous show.

Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence…

Herb Kim found out where the pictures come from…
It was a protest against ‘Online Dating’ by @rendeevoo – an app that encourages you to ‘Date Offline’ with one click.
As I thought it was a publicly stunt by another dating company trying to convince people to use their service not the rest… Pretty lame, especially because it didn’t make any news and I couldn’t find out who did it… Poor!

#SMC_MCR 5min talk – Love in the wild?

I gave this talk at Social Media Cafe (#SMC_MCR) it lasted longer than I expected but generally its about my believe in Maths and science to match people for the purposes of love. Most of its been said here before.

At the end of the slides I make reference to a couple who got together despite the year of making love crazyness but I’m sad to say they didn’t stay together… So maybe Annie/Sandra Bullock was right “relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last”

I also make reference to the current worries/concerns over online matchmaking claims… I certainly feel that since Match.com bought OKCupid the level of the matching has certainly gotten worst, can’t quite put my finger on exactly whats wrong but I’m certainly feeling its not all fun times in online dating right now, even with the OKcupid mobile application.

Lastly I specially like Tom Morris‘s very detailed comment in reply to my question about matching people with science…

The answer to the question? Probably no, not at the moment, and if someone says that they can, definitely not. But that could change if psychology improves.

We are attracted to each other for complex, multi-faceted reasons. There’s obviously sexual attraction, but you can also be attracted to someone because you think they are a fun, interesting person… even if they aren’t someone you would naturally find physically attractive. The sexual attraction is easy enough to work out and self-report: you can sit down and write a list of characteristics you find physically attractive: gender, height, build, race, hair colour, whether they are into crazy fetishes – that stuff is all fairly easy to self-report.

But there is plenty of stuff about human psychology we don’t know yet. Matching people up based on self-reported questions only gets you so far. People aren’t necessarily honest in questions, and there are a whole stack of cognitive biases. Writing psychological survey questions is hard. You can have four questions which logically are the same, but if you phrase them slightly differently, you get completely different responses. You can put questions in the survey in different orders and get different responses, mix them in with priming questions and get different responses.

And if you were to come up with a matching algorithm, you’d have to compare it to a control. But there’s a huge number of other factors: you turn up for the date, and the music at the club or restaurant is not to your taste, or the food was a bit off, or you’ve had a shit day at work… and so you respond differently than the other person.

People don’t know what they want: you might say you want someone the same age, but you’ve never tried having a relationship with someone 7-10 years older or younger than you. Everything Eli Pariser has said about filter bubbles: that’s not just restricted to web content, but people too. If you made two algorithms, one for finding someone for sex and another for relationships, even people who just want sex would end up using the relationship one because they don’t want to seem tacky. Matching people is just difficult.

Absolutely… and I think the idea of using Augmented reality technologies in combination with dating data is a interesting solution and maybe the future of online dating?