Psychology of dating in the technosexual era

The psychology of dating in the technosexual era is a nice title and something I’ve been collecting stories about in my diigo group dating troubles. (diigo wants more money for it to be public, but you can look at this tag for most of it)

So my first reaction was… uhhh duhhh? Who doesn’t know this?

But then I have spoke and wrote about this to death.

Tinder is hardly original, yet it has taken the mobile dating market by storm: despite launching only last year, an estimated 450 million profiles are rated every day and membership is growing by 15% each week. More importantly, and in stark contrast with the overwhelmingly negative media reception, Tinder has managed to overcome the two big hurdles to online dating. First, Tinder is cool, at least to its users.

Indeed, whereas it is still somewhat embarrassing to confess to using EHarmony or, Tinderers are proud to demo the app at a dinner party, perhaps because the alternative – logging off and talking to others guests – is less appealing.

As I also said… It switched from physical first & personality second to personality first & physical second during the first phase of the  internet’s affect on mating. But then came the fightback, starting with social dating. Now all the big sites all have a social dating app of some kind.


I found the Guardian piece interesting because of one two things…

  1. Yes its absolutely right and its fair to say its still scratching at the surface.
  2. Its written by !

You may wonder who on earth is he?
Let me refresh your memory…

This reminds me of a TV show we created a couple of years ago; we profiled over 3,000 singletons using state-of-the-art psychological tests and created 500 couples based on psychological compatibility… but ignored looks and race. When the couples finally met – even though they trusted the science of the matching process – they were 90% focused on looks and only decided to date a second time if they were deemed equally attractive or worthy of each other’s looks.

Yes remember the terrible dating show I took part on (not that one!) 2 years ago? Yep that one… saying the name still conjures up a certain amount of hate and distress. The year of making love!

Clearly, psychologists have a lot of work to do before they can convince daters that their algorithms are more effective.

I found this sadly ironic, especially with everything discovered over the last 5 years. I am hoping to present a spectrum of this and other issues as a conference talk in the very near future.

The Year after we were meant to be making love

Psychologists Emma and Tomas talk about how science is important when it comes to matchmaking and we see how the couples were matched for the Year of Making Love.

Right its over… 6 episodes of BBC Three TV episodes. It couldn’t have gone so well because on the 4th episode, it got shifted around in the schedule and in the end I had to find it on iPlayer to finish off the series.

The last episode does have a look back and goes considers the science a little more but frankly lets talk maths (bear in mind I never studied it beyond GCSEs)…

Originally it was meant to be 1000 single people matched to 500 couples. That didn’t happen so it was roughly 300 couples matched on the big day and then who knows how many couples were matched afterwards to make up the original 500 couples. However! we don’t know that for sure because there’s never been any data released about it. So lets say 500 couples matched over a few months…

Out of the 500 couples which were matched, about 20+ of them made it to the screen. Most ended after the first date or soon after. Only 3 made it through a year  and are still together now? Funny enough out of the 3 which did make it. 2 of them are from the later matches not the original match day. Tweak to the algorithm?

So frankly 500 to 3 is a terrible result! I mean would you sign up to a dating site where 166 people need to get in touch before you find one worth following (would you?). 1/166.666 is pretty bad odds! And we don’t know if they changed the questionnaire or changed the formula half way through? I certainly didn’t fill in 100’s of questions. You can’t claim scientific if its certainly not…

I’m sure (heard) there are others who are still together but we never saw them. It could be because they weren’t attractive enough to be on TV? or maybe there were no one else? Another question for the programme commissioners.

To be frank, the odds are maybe better if you go down your local deansgates lock, big market, etc and try pulling people. Heck a lot less people would be hurt or have there hopes raised

I’ve dated a lot but I guarantee you if I was to date 166 people on OKCupid I would be in a serious relationship now. I do understand what Emma and Tomas are saying about the one but unforgivably the programme didn’t back up there thoughts. Even Emma shouts at one point, how people are too busy considering the looks not the person. The thing they hadn’t considered or calculated in to the theory was Chemistry. Chemistry is important… and no ones quite got that part figured out, no matter what anyone says

Someone should really do a proper scientific trial… and give up some data about how it went. Maybe I’ll ask around to see if there’s any anonymous data we can get from the year of making love?

Continue readingThe Year after we were meant to be making love

Times review of the Year of Making Love

Year of Making Love Times review

Thanks to Teknoteacher for the tweet… alerting me to the Times review

Just as I feared

Unfortunately very little airtime during new series “The year of making love” is given over to actual “science” involved

Science…! Yes science we all shout…!

@zeonglow  said something interesting while I was watching the latest episode.

#yoml isn’t science. They should have matched up half of them at random. That would have been interesting.

All the science in the programme is 2 scientists looking pretty saying comments like, “oh there a good match…” I would suggest the title is quite correct, biology lessons minus the science.

Yes most people who watch BBC Three would yawn but thats part of the reason why I personally took part

The whole post is online as you’d expect. But I leave you with this fun section…

Unfortunately, very little airtime during new series The Year of Making Love is given over to the actual “science” involved. Essentially, personality-profiler Thomas and behavioural-psychologist Emma have analysed the assembled single masses and paired them off with one another. Imagine Yente, the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof, if she exchanged the layered shawls for a lab coat.

A year of making love redeems its self?

Year of making love

If you don’t already know my own personal experience of BBC Three’s year of making love and the crazy things which have followed

However last night it was time for the whole thing to be played out on BBC Three. I had feared the very worst but what was churned out on TV wasn’t so bad. Nope the TV magic or the beauty of editing pretty much cleaned away the slate of last year. With it also the grand claims of a record breaking attempt, 500 couples, blah blah, etc

Interestingly during the show there was no official hashtag, so we used the #yoml hashtag which a few of us had been using during last years recording. Most of the comments were reasonably positive about the show which seemed to focus more on the couples than the experiment and process.

Even Laura said

Looks so smooth, sleek, quick and efficient.. The magic of television!

Was I in the show? Yes I saw myself twice but only really passing shots. The clearest is when Cherry Healy is talking to a guy and there’s me in background.

Most of the shots for the show focused on the start of the day when everyone was happy and still expecting great things to happen. However there are some shots where its clear the audience has thinned and are a lot less enthusiastic about the whole thing. In actually fact there was other signs of the conflict which was unveiling…

Loved seeing all the empty seats – that looked really really good……. Not

Steve G said on the unofficial YOML Facebook group

Nicely edited…the only evidence of the farce that day turned into was when Cherry and the scientists were discussing the matches you could hear the unmatched being called out like cattle like we were…
Yes I remember that moment too.. Being called out like Cattle lead to the sides and then being told they’ve changed their minds.
The scientific nature of the show was played down, because frankly it would have been a major sticking point for me. No matter what they say on the programme, we have the producer on camera talking about speed dating the leftovers. Once again you can’t claim science and then throw people into speed dating…

Ian Arundale said

YOML is a good advert for online dating algorithms! isItscienceOrLuck

To which I said no its not… Actually the science or luck is a interesting one… Being TV and the heavy editing they will show a selection of couples with a bias to the ones who last the longest. If we go on the first week, a possible one serious relationship out of 4 isn’t too great. I would suggest luck is in play more than science at this moment. This is why I’m very interested in the science behind it all as it gets to the bottom of something much greater…

With enough Big Data can algorithms work on some of the most human of things… falling in love?

Unforgettably, this show isn’t going to provide any answers…

Matthew S and Matthew K pointed out…

They didnt talk about the compatibility test at all!

Yeah, very true, the science was brushed over very quickly. TV has really strict guidelines about faking things, and we know there was lots of manipulation going on so they clearly had to be very vague about it!

Actually we were asked to make personal videos which you will see popping up on the show now and there… Of course I did my own and I have now made it public here.

BBC Three turned a smouldering wreck into a tiny little pebble which will satisfy the BBC Three audience I’m sure.

My part to play in it was minimum which was good because frankly Laura is a great woman and I have to say my match which I finally got after many months, seemed slightly off on the face of it. Actually would you like to know who my match was? Well it was woman called Olivia Pinder. I did write to her once but never heard anything so just decided she wasn’t interested or she was as fed up of the whole shame as myself. Then my YOML friend Cristina Conti asked if I had heard anything from my match and convinced me to give it one more shot. Of course I didn’t hear anything, so that was it. Plus frankly I had enough of it by a certain point…

Would I ever do anything like this again? Well if its a dating show/experiment no. I felt like I brushed close enough with those people who have words like “model” and “promotions” in their résumés & had been on other TV shows! Just there looking for stardom?! This so isn’t me and I am still very surprised they let me take part at all.

Almost at blows

Steve G posed a interesting question,

Gotta feel for the people who had sat through until 8pm (like myself and it was 9pm) and didn’t get a match however I don’t know whether I would of preferred that and not knowing then having being matched last minute…

Personally I always wanted to know who my match was… the not knowing was frustrating because I knew someone knew but didn’t want to tell me unless it was in front of broadcast cameras. The moment I knew, it wasn’t such a big deal anymore. Even when I heard nothing back, it wasn’t a problem. I think the not knowing was the problem.

My brush with mainstream TV has been too close for comfort, to date I’ve gotten away with it. Maybe thats a sure sign I should avoid at all costs from now on… I’ll keep watching just to see if some of the friends I made are on there but otherwise this is one experience I can mark up as a close shave.

Year of Making love – Monday 4th Feb


Well here it is (sent via a email to me this morning)…

The programme maybe they shouldn’t have made (imho). Monday 4th February 9pm on bbc three, hopefully I wont see myself in the crowd because there’s certainly no way you will see me with a partner.

If there is any mention of scientific I will be laughing to myself knowing the truth

Here comes the year of making love…

Yes when you thought it couldn’t happen, here it is on the promo for BBC Three’s 2013 season (need to be in the UK sorry).

As things gear up for next season, it will be interesting to see whats changed. Seems Fevermedia haven’t quite got up to speed yet. Their last post is STILL seeking people to take part in June.

There’s been a number of comments on the unofficial Facebook group, theres little to no more information on Digital Spy but a bit more at the BBC press office.

The lack of interest and push indicates to me, this show will go down without any major fan-fare or flames. Maybe the BBC will think again before entering the world of dating and love? Got to say, it might pass without any real comment. Which isn’t a bad thing because we all (including Fevermedia) frankly rather forget what happened…

The Year of Making Love needs me…?

a year of making love band

Fever Media, the Year of Making Love… (remember that crazy dating experience I had) have been in touch again…

They want to use my video diary for the show which looks to go live in time for Valentines day 2013…


They need my signature to use it… They need a licence for existing material.

I later got a email from them with the contract.

Year of Making Love (Working Title) (the “Programme”)
For the purposes of this letter, the “Material” shall mean any and all material in whatever form including without limitation audiovisual so called ‘video diary footage’, and mobile phone screen grabs/footage uploaded by you onto the Year of Making Love web capture site ‘’ (the Website’) and / or otherwise provided to the Year of Making Love Production Team at any time whether prior to or subsequent to the date hereof

We write to confirm our agreement as follows:-

  1. You hereby grant to us and persons authorised by us the non-exclusive right in perpetuity to record, copy, reproduce, broadcast, transmit and perform all or part of the Material for and/or in connection with the production, exploitation, promotion and/or advertising of the Programme throughout the world for the entire period of copyright in the Material and all extensions and renewals thereof by all means and in all media whether now known or hereafter discovered or developed. For the avoidance of doubt and without limitation to the forgoing you agree that the Material may be embedded in the Website.
  2. By submitting the Material to us, you thereby grant to us a worldwide, royalty free, irrevocable licence to use, copy, exploit, manipulate, distribute, reproduce (and to sub-licence such rights) the Material.
  3. You warrant that you are entitled to grant to us the rights referred to in paragraph 1 above and that the exercise of such rights will not (a) infringe the copyright or any other personal or property rights of any person or be in breach of any statute or regulation or (b) entitle any person to claim any payment from us or from any of our licensee.
  4. In full consideration for all rights and benefits hereby granted we shall pay to you the sum of £1 receipt of which is hereby acknowledged.
  5. You are solely responsible for the content of any material submitted, and any consequences of the further publication of such by us. We shall have no liability whatsoever and howsoever arising in respect of Material submitted.
  6. You agree that you shall not submit any Materials which are unlawful, defamatory, offensive or in breach of third party rights.
  7. We shall not be obliged to include the Material in the Programme.
  8. We shall be entitled to assign the benefit of this agreement to any third party but we shall remain liable to you for all of our obligations under this agreement.

What do people think I should do?

If I say no, they will just go and use someone elses
If I say yes, I have no idea how they will edit or mess with it.

Remember the show “how to have more sex” (I chalk that one up to how TV sucks!)

What should I do?

Finally matched: year of making love saga continues…

I’ve said some bad things about the pretty much dead on arrival year of making love. And my views haven’t changed one single bit, actually with the additional push for more meat to the slaughter, I’m really not liking what going on. But everytime, I keep wondering, what happen to my match? Whats she like, is she even bothered and does the maths/algorithm behind the match actually work in anyway?

So today I got a email from Fevermedia saying they had some good news and they were very sorry for what had happened but… they had details of my match.

Dear Ian,

Despite the disappointment of not meeting your match at our launch event, we’re really excited that we are now able to put you in touch!  We hope that you’re still interested in the project as your input is incredibly valuable to us. The experiment has already generated a number of fantastic couples, and we really hope that you will be the latest successful match!

Contact details of your match:

Name: ******** **********

Email: *****************************

This experiment relies on your input so please let us know how you get on!

So once again I’m slightly sucked in… As Josh says this is better than reality TV? Hopefully it won’t be like the car crash of Take me out.

I have emailed her and to be honest did a small google search (hey everyone does it now, trust me!) and discovered she has a twitter account and facebook account. I didn’t look any more deeper… honestly, I was at work and got plenty to do…

Interesting they use the term experiment again

Funny enough I got into a discussion with Matthew (head of BBC R&D) and he mentioned to me how he was following my tweets on the day of the year of making love. And we got talking about my thoughts on matching algorithms in respect to this whole experience and online dating.

What was really interesting was Matthew’s answer to could maths/science match people? He said, “no and hope not.” Which to be honest no ones ever said to me regarding this question yet. There was a unspoken and knowing look that there was so much more to the comment than just that statement. Maybe something for Geeky & Sexy or Social Preston?

So yes the Saga continues… In which direction will be interesting, because I don’t know many of the couples which were matched on the day which are still together.

The year of making love part 2?

I have no idea what they (Fevermedia) think there up to now…

But they seem to be recruiting for part 2, cover there tracks or trying to rescue the year of making love… A friend (removed details just incase), sent this to me, I first thought it was a old email but when I looked at it again, I noticed the date was way after the epic fail which was the year of making love event.

From: Flanagain, Kerry, Fevermedia []
Sent: 14 March 2012
Subject: Exciting new BBC Three show looking for single people to take part!

I am contacting you from Fever Media on behalf of BBC Three.
We’re currently looking for people to take part in one of the UK’s biggest relationship experiments, for a brand new BBC television series.
The show will put the new science of compatibility to the test and in order to do this we are looking for single men and women that would be interested in going on a date with their perfect partner.

I have attached a flyer to this email, it would be great if you can pass this onto your students via the intranet, or display it somewhere? Anyone that is interested can contact the team using the details on the flyer and someone will get back to them ASAP.

Alternatively we’d be really grateful if you can help spread the word via your social media networks to get encourage students to get involved. Can the you retweet the link to our application stage please? Our twitter account is @yearofmakingluv
And to post the following on your facebook page please:

Would you like to be set up with your ideal date in a ground breaking scientific dating experiment? Fever Media and BBC3 are looking to fond you the perfect match! To take part please call 02074285759 or email your details

Many Thanks,
Kerry Flanagan – The Year of Making Love

And I’m not the only one to spot this… On the Facebook group setup by people who were there the first time, someone posted this Exciting new BBC three show looking for single people to take part!

Yes it seems Fevermedia didn’t learn their lesson first time around and want to repeat the mistake once again. But this time it might be that they stacking the deck (as such) this time to be sure? (of course this is all rumors, but if true show how desperate Fevermedia really are and serious lack of any scientific standing in the show)

My mate runs a modelling agency , yesterday he got a phone call from the fever team asking if any of his models would like to be on the tv show ..

Once again, the scientific experiment is just a washed away in the aim of creating TV. I certainly won’t be taking part, although I will be watching and researching to see what they do this time around.

#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 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?

Official apology from Fevermedia for Year of making love

Funny I missed this all together… and it wasn’t till someone left a comment on my personal OKcupid blog where I made reference to the debacle in the light a question about maths in matching people.

To everyone who attended The Year Of Making Love launch event.

First of all, thank you very much for attending. As you know, hundreds of people joined us on Saturday in Bedfordshire. Whilst the vast majority of people enjoyed their day, I am well aware that some people’s experiences were disappointing which is something I deeply regret. I and the entire team are extremely sorry for the difficulties you faced.

By way of explanation I want to say a few things about the day. We invited 1000 people to the event, all of whom had been carefully matched in advance by our experts. You held up your side of the deal by coming along on Saturday. Unfortunately, we were surprised by the high number of people who did not arrive at the venue. This was entirely unexpected, since every single person who was invited had confirmed their attendance with the production team in the days prior to the event. The contributors who did not turn up caused a large number of problems for us throughout the day, and had a serious knock on effect on the smooth running of the event.

When it became clear early on Saturday morning that some contributors had not got onto their coach, our team immediately began to call around those individuals to try to get them to the venue. As the day progressed more and more people were turning up who had not got on their original coach but had instead made their own way to the venue. This meant people’s matches were arriving throughout the day and in some cases we didn’t know for sure whether a match was on their way until rather late in the day. We also decided to delay some coaches to give people more time to get to the venue. This meant people were arriving later and in larger numbers than planned which caused queues and a delay in the registration process.

Later in the afternoon, it did become clear that for a number of you, your match was unfortunately not going to turn up. At this point we could tell by checking each individual’s number that there were many strongly compatible people in the room and we created new couples using the same scientific data from the personality tests that had been used originally. Unfortunately, a number of people who had registered on the day left the venue during the afternoon without first informing anyone on the production team. This meant many of our new matches would not be possible as one of half of the match had actually already left the event – although of course we didn’t yet have that information.

This is the first time an event like this has ever been attempted before and whilst many had a fantastic day I am aware that some people’s day was a big disappointment. If you are one of those people I hope you trust we tried to do what we could in difficult circumstances. From my point of view, having one unhappy contributor is not acceptable, so I am extremely disappointed that some of our contributors feel let down. We could not have made this event happen without our contributors and I do thank you for being there on the day.

I should also let you know that we will be contacting everyone who did not turn up on the day to try to find out why. We are also looking in to the possibility of putting people in contact with their original matches but this is entirely dependant on two way consent.

Finally, should you wish to share your thoughts with us, I would genuinely welcome your feedback. Over the next few weeks I’m asking our team to get in touch with everyone and I will ensure that each and every one of you receives a reply to your questions and concerns. We are working through the emails we have received, but if you have anything more to add the best way to reach us is at

The Year Of Making Love launch day was an ambitious event and whilst the majority of people successfully met their match, we are fully committed to try and make amends for those that didn’t.
Thank you again for taking part and please accept our apologies.

Fever Media

Finally a better understanding of what was going on in the background. If only this was made clear during the event instead of keeping it a bloody secret. That was the biggest problem, very little very information or communication to us, the participations/contributors.

Frankly its a very poor apology, it still doesn’t address why we were so delayed getting off the coaches and never given a break, food or drink for a good 6-8 hours. Theres also no information to say if the show will go ahead in its current form or greatly changed?

Fevermedia once again blame us and not themselves. Are they really surprised people started leaving when there was no communication?

They must have known the risks, this is why they had researchers calling us up right to the last moment. One of the guys I met on the day from Manchester, received a call on the coach up from one of the researchers asking if he was on the coach or not. I guess it does explain why the coach were 50% capacity on the way up…

I never can explain to people who were not there how frustrating the whole event was… Even now a week later (8pm) its crazy to think at this time last week I had not eaten or drank for close to 8 hours. The intriguing nature of meeting my perfect match kept me at the venue and there should have been a system or solution to keep people informed if they went away, even to the toilet. The idea of matching people in front of the cameras blindsided the whole process till it became very clear it was totally impossible. Not sure when Fevermedia caught on to this fact but it was certainly hours after everyone else.

As I said previously, usually TV is created under a dictatorship. These guys (director/producer/etc) keep things so usually tight, so it was very eyeopening to see public wifi, etc available. However although I enjoyed the openness of this type of thing, they totally dropped the ball for event management. No apology for that anywhere to see…

Other peoples thoughts on the year of making love

Rome visit, June 2008 - 57

Now on my 4th blog entry for the year of making love… Its hard to see how it went from this to this

Others have started blogging their thoughts. So I thought it would be worth sharing them, partly to show I’m not the only one and highlight other thoughts.

Whats love got to do with it

I was number 2004, therefore expecting to be quite early on in the process, however the first few groups came and went and I was still left sat there in my seat.  This happened to Adam and one of the Richards as well.  When my number was skipped a second time, I began to wonder if Miss 1004 was even in the room.   Turns out she wasn’t, and I ended up being paired off with a different girl, who, though being nice enough, was not my type at all, and it was clearly obvious I wasn’t hers as well!  Martyn had a similar story with his match, no chemistry, and Adam decided he would rather not be matched with a random girl, not his perfect match, and dint stay to go up on the stage!

Making love on Camera

It started off fairly promising as some of the couples looked well suited, but as the process was drawn out a lot of the matches seemed completely bizarre pairings, and it didn’t take long before couples were showing obvious signs of disapproval on stage in front of the 1000 person crowd. In fact I half expected Jeremy Kyle to spring up at one point as a lad walked off about 5 paces in front of his ‘match’ to a chorus of boos.

I should point out that this went on for a good 4 hours due to the stop-start nature of calling up couples to the stage, and by this time many had lost interest. I felt faint and tired due to not eating or drinking, but just as my eyes were starting to close Adam tapped me and said ‘they’ve just called your number!’ I picked myself up and headed behind the screen to the side of the stage. Whilst the 5 of us lads waited like lambs to the slaughter, we exchanged a bit of last-minute banter, but this is where the nerves began to creep in.

Interesting to read what a gay guy also at the event thought of the whole thing

I entered this endeavour ready to tell horror stories of how we were herded like cattle (which we were), where no one got what they wanted (one guy left out of frustration of having to wait to be part of the 901st couple to be matched), and where the only people involved were just desperate to be on the telly (this happened a lot – me and the boy in question traded stories from the boys and girls sides respectively), but my personal experience was nothing like the sceptical versions we tell ourselves as an audience member: I found someone I genuinely liked, who seemed to like me back, and who I could actually see as a potential partner. Bollocks.

And now Channel4 are jumping in with there own Dating show… Geez, do I have to say anything more!?

Interestingly a breach of contract seems to be effective, so maybe I can remove the disclaimer? According to one person on FB

my sister is a lawyer and she said if i dont hear anything by the end of the week she will send a stern and threatening letter. they broke their contract by saying we will leave the venue by 6pm i left at 8:15. so i will defo get it back

And from the Facebook group Matthew Stokes said,

TV programes are made for the viewers, not for the people taking part. A few digrunteled people, however justified, are not going to be a big concern to the production company, their parent company, and certainly not to the BBC. Don’t kid yourselves. Sorry, but I wouldnt waste too much of your time ranting, complaining, and kicking up a fuss. You are best turning that into positive energy, meeting some cool and sexy people on here, making plans to meet up, and going to one of the events we have arranged ourselves. Its a great display of the human condition that in adversity, groups like this crop up and we are moving on to bigger better sexier things!

The producers clearly didnt set out to upset people, but their main aim is to make a good TV progamme, not to keep 1000 random people entertained. Yes, they will HAVE to arrange to film specific people, yes some of it will be a little contrived, and yes sadly some peoples time will have been wasted. Trust me, if Saturday could have gone any better/smoother/easier than it did, they would have been far happier too. I for-warned them of the issues they were going to face last Thursday on the phone, and I got the impression that they knew it was going to be a toughie. Sadly, it seems that some programme makers are not the best at people management, time management, or logistics! All of this being said, we were there FOR THE PROGRAM. No one paid anything to be there, no one had any guarantees, and we all knew what the concept of the show was. Anyone expecting a second event to meet matches, or payments, or compensation will be sadly disappointed. The apology that we have received is all that we will get, and I do feel bad for people that waited all day, had bad journeys getting home, and spent money to be there.

And this is where I get very twitchy and slightly on my high horse.

It is great positive things come out of adversity however I reject the fact TV programmes HAVE to be about exploitation of people. There is certainly a reason why I work for the BBC

A quick letter of complaint to Fevermedia

After the year of love self destruction, I’ve been holding off sending them exactly what I thought of them. Everytime I go to write, I get pissed off and start repeating some of the thoughts in my blog entry from earlier…

So in the end I wrote this because I needed to write something short and being 2 days later, it just needed to happen…

I’m still days later, generally peed off about what happened on Saturday… I wrote a blog entry which you may or may not be interested in.

I personally was interested in the experiment and meeting my match through science or more like alchemy. But it never happened on the day.
Someone at the end said they would match people via email, but as I wrote I doubt most will agree after such a terrible experience in the name of science… 🙁 Even wrote a blog to encourage people to give it a try…
So I’m still interested in carry on the experiment but wouldn’t be surprised my partner wasn’t interested and it never made the tv… Robbed is how me and many others felt, no wonder there were the signs of frustration by 7pm. As a bbc employee I was also upset to hear people say negative comments about the bbc…
I await answers…
Ian Forrester – number 2135
There’s been a number of Facebook groups/pages setup but the most active is The Year Of Making Love Contestants. Some people have gotten replies but frankly there not very apologetic about the whole event.
There’s also a number of contestant created events happening around the country, including Manchester! If Fevermedia were smart they would back some of these user created events. Something like hardship to bring people together much tighter than almost anything else.


And just when you think Fevermedia would have put their heads down.. There’s talk on Facebook that they are calling up matches and saying this…

Hi we got your e mail’s we understand you were unhappy with your match.

Can we re-match as we are are still kean on filming you and following your progress through-out the year.

Even if you don’t get on with your match think of the exposure you could get, We won’t pay you but I’m sure you guys can make money out of this.

Your new match is happy to go ahead so it just comes down to you, if you say no thats fine but just think about it as this is a great opportunity.

If this is true and honestly I wouldn’t put it pass them to do such a under-handing thing going on previous experience. I certainly won’t be involved… It goes from being a unique experiment to a freakshow, and thats not what I signed up for… As far as I can see, the contract I signed was void when I didn’t get matched first time.

So much for the science, maths or alchemy…! Once again I’d refer to my last blog

Is it possible to match people with science?

This has got to be one the eternal questions? Maths or science has solved so many of our questions but can it be used for working out compatibility of humans?

That was one of the things which really intrigued me about a year of making love. I assume you’ve seen how it turned in on its self since the production team totally screwed up the process and kept us all in the dark about it. And if you want further evidence do check out the tweets for #yearofmakinglove and #yoml

However because of the total screwup most people are saying its a total failure (maybe very true) but also science or rather maths was never going to work… I can’t disagree specially after the experience we all had yesterday. However basing any judgments off the back of yesterdays experience would be a mistake.

So do I personally think maths/science can match humans? Maybe… (yes what a cope out) but to be honest no one knows for sure. And thats the point of the experiment.

At the very start of the day (ordeal) we were introduced to the professor who devised the test/questions and the matching algorithm. I remember tweeting this

As Michael replied a far…

And he’s right…

In my own experience to date, the matching algorithm over at has been pretty darn good (not perfect!) (OKCupid’s OK Trends are legendary – check out the biggest lies people tell each other on dating sites and How race effects the messages you get). But I had to train it to be good. I’ve to date answered about 700+ questions and there not just questions. There detailed, so you have to answer it, then specify how important this is to you and what answer your ideal match would pick. This makes for much more dimensions in the answer criteria and ultimately the algorithm. Aka the algorithm is only as good as the dataset its working on.

You got to put in the data/time, if you want it to be good… Otherwise your going to get crappy results.

This makes the 50 questions answered for the year of making love look like a pop quiz (hotshot), to be honest.

So back to the original question slightly modified, can a algorithm match people in the interest of love? I think so to a certain extent. But its not the complete picture. Chemistry is a big deal which is very difficult to understand. Its not found by answering questions but watching the interaction between people. Its a different type of algorithm… Situation can cause chemistry, aka the reason why everyone came together on the coaches home (or to the wrong city as some of them seemed to do) is because there was a social situation which we could all share/talk about. (cue talk about social objects/places) Chemistry was in full effect?

I hope people don’t give up on science as a way to find their ideal partner just because of the terrible experience they had at The year of making love… is I guess what I’m saying…

A year of making love and where it went wrong

Most people will remember the last blog I wrote about the BBC Three dating experiment called A year of making love

Well I went to the event and frankly it was a total shambles. So what happened (imho)?

I have to be careful because I did sign a contract with them, which if I read correctly did have clauses which seemed NDA like (yes I do read contracts but it was very rushed at the time and we never got a copy of what we signed) From memory it was more about exclusive use of footage, etc. And Fevermedia actively encouraged us to document our experiences for a year. From the paper work they gave us…

  • How was the YOML (year of making love) launch day for you – what was your experience?
  • What do you think of the science that matched you two together… has it done well or not!?

They even supplied free wifi on the day which did really surprise me, hence lots of tweeting, uploading photos, etc… So I’m just posting my own thoughts…

I got up and got myself ready for the 7am coach journey from Piccadilly Station. 4 Coaches were put on with males in two and females in the others. We were meant to leave on the dot so we would reach the secret venue by 10am. However that never happened as we left Manchester at about 8am instead (no real reason why, or at least explained)

Then when we finally got to Millbrook, we were left sitting in our seats on the coaches for almost a hour. Yes we were on location but each coach was sat in a formation waiting for what? No one knew, no communication, no one to ask. Coach driver only said he’s been told to wait. In the end, its was only my bladder and my unwillingness to go pee in the bushes near the formation of coaches. I personally think they wanted to do a shoot of everyone getting into the building but it just never happened.

Marching into the building/hanger to use the toilets, it seemed stupid to go back to the coach. I also had met some guys on the coach who followed me (more about them later). So we stuck around and waited in a queue of woman also waiting to register and get in.

Finally through registration and directed into the green zone to collect our wrist bands and sign the very light contract. We were given a a food voucher (a sandwich and a drink), information sheets and told to wait with other matches. To be correct, the green zone was mainly for males and the orange zone mainly for females. However, I was pleased to see some woman who in my terrible gaydar sense were homosexual. I was pleased mainly because I did wonder if this experiment was exclusively straight, which turned out not to be. A matching experiment should work with LGBT too, OkCupid‘s does.

Right after about a hour of waiting around, we were told to go into the main area. To be honest it was massive and very impressive at first. Orange (mainly women) on the left and Green (mainly men) on the right. Separated by a large isle in the middle, like a church wedding. Were were also explained this is a “scientific experiment” which has never been done on this scale before…

The idea was when your number is read out, go to either side/wing to get quickly sorted and get given a couple number. When your couple number is read out, emerge from the hidden wings, walk on to the stage meet your partner for the very first time say something nice and walk down the isle in front of the cameras. Basically they wanted to capture that very first moment when you met and the reaction as you walked away to learn more about each other next door

And to be frank for the first few hours it worked. There were some amazing matches and some great moments when people lept into each others arms, did a spin on the spot and carried the parter down the isle over there shoulders. The energy in the room from the 1000 people was great. However after 2-3 hours, the space started to empty from matches and the energy started to shorten.

Where it went wrong…

We were promised breaks but never told when they were. Instead there were long periods where they had called quite a few numbers and trying to sort out there partner numbers in the wings (once again no communication of what was going on).

Little Update…
Also worth mentioning there were doing in small batches starting from 2xxx and 1xxxx going upwards. So realistically I should have been matched very early with 2135. However they skipped over large batches at certain points. But still generally going up into towards 2500 and 1500. Of course they never reached 500.

Later the blame was pushed on to people leaving and their partner being left alone. In actual fact, if they had brought us into the arena in small batches, instead of random it would have speeded up the process no end.
People started using there phones, reading magazines and generally chatting away. The clapping went from loud to drips in a sink. People screamed for food as we hadn’t had food for over 5 hours! I was thinking about starting a shout out about this but decided better of it.

The event was due to come to a close at 6pm but we left the venue at about 8:30pm. Lots of people including myself, came by coaches but others drove and got connecting trains to Milton Keynes. If your coming from a long way, you want to make sure you get home safely (specially if your a single woman, friends were not allowed – you had to come alone). The coaches threaten to leave but were held back as long as possible. There was a air of people needed to go and they did.

Fevermedia tried to speed things up but with the false positives and the lack of excitement it became very telling. However, instead of changing things (after a announcement captured on youtube). They pushed on with the same format (they really wanted that moment of first meeting on camera), even my number got called and I was waiting in the wings to meet my partner.

Then they changed their minds (finally realising this will never work in the time) and pulled everyone to the back of the venue to read out the numbers and matches. This was very badly done (it was like calling for cattle) and done far far too late. Hence it pretty much exploded at the end with  a ugly stand off between production staff and the people who had not been matched (roughly 100 people).

I like many others were peed off (lack of food, drink, sitting in uncomfortable chairs for hours on end, with very little communication about what was happening) that maybe in the room was our matches but we would never find out because they wanted to hold on to that information. At one point they even suggested a speed dating session (I hope as a unhelpful joke) which would have made the whole scientific experiment a total joke. Fevermedia did say they would contact everyone who wasn’t matched and match them over email but like many expressed, the moment is gone and after such a bad handle of the situation why would anyone want to be involved again?

The cold light of the next day

They wanted to be the largest but only matched about 350 couples? (aim was 500). They could cover up some of the holes on in post but its going to need plenty of editing and they will never get the magic 500 couple number, specially now.

It wasn’t that I was pinning my hopes on meeting the one, just that I like many wanted to meet them and felt bad for this other person who you may have even rubbed shoulders with. In actual fact, I met some great people on the day and sharing stories and experiences on the coach was interesting.

After all the trouble of the day (we got back to Manchester after midnight! I even had to direct the coach driver…), a few of us went to Tai Wu for Chinese food as we were so bloody hungry. Two of the guys I met on the coach, had met there match partners but hadn’t really clicked (yet?)  so hooked up with other people. One of them came to Tai Wu with us and they seemed to be hitting it off very well. Mismatch maybe, who knows? We’ve all agreed to meet up again soon in the Northern Quarter for drinks as we swapped numbers.

For me it was a the not knowing and being in the same room with someone who might be a great match. End of the day I was more interested in seeing if it could work. One guy I spoke to on the coach home, had staked quite heavy amount of time and effort on this and was deeply upset. Some would say thats really bad but at just 18 and frankly a super shy personality, the build up and catastrophic breakdown of the show was heart breaking. I did say to him don’t confuse the show format with the actual idea of using maths to connect people. OkCupid does a excellent job (imho) but I have to date answered over 500 detailed questions. While for the show we answered roughly 50?

End of the day, I’m not that upset (some were screaming blue murder at the end)… I do fear it reflects very badly on the BBC because I heard negative comments about the show and attributing BBC Three. It was all very anticlimactic for something which started off well (even with the small problems at the start). I did feel sorry for Fevermedia specially when people were laying into them but if they had sorted out the matches and worried less about getting that on camera everyone would have been a lot happier. I’d suggest they should have done it over 2 days for such a number of people really, but I imagine that would have been a logistical nightmare too.

This further adds further weight to my thoughts about broadcast TV. There’s a sense your just cattle and don’t matter in getting the final product. Your the bi-product and thats just not right (specially felt this when they were reading out numbers like cattle). In my TedX talk earlier in the week I talked about everyone being unique and special. 500 new stories and relationships had the potential to be an amazing story but for a lot of people it was an experience they never want to be involved in again…

And with this I rip my green band off with my match number 2135. Its very unlikely I’ll be involved any further… And I’m sure my match if anything like me won’t either…

a year of making love band