Wednesday, February 15, 2012

So it was Valentines Day. The one day on the calendar that tells us to think about our love life. All year long it is about obligations to school, job, family everything you are involved with. But February 14th each year is the day we pause and think of love. If you were lucky you held and at least hugged someone who loves you or you are lucky if you got a message as early as 4:30 in the morning from someone declaring their love for you in your computer. If you didn’t get either one, you might be considering a dating site.
In our complicated world today, How do you find someone new? They say opposites attract and they do by spending most of their time discussing why each person likes what their partner hates. An estimated 20% of couples who got together in the past few years met through an on-line dating site. Could opposites really meet from a place that takes all your information about what you like and dislike and tries to match you up by your similarities to someone else?
Those who want to meet someone that likes everything they like will go through a mathematical process called an “Algorithm.” It is a step by step process of calculations that assigns values to certain characteristics and leads to a conclusion. This all doesn’t sound like a prelude to romance but many dating sites use this way to suggest someone who is “perfect for you.”
To match people together they take who you are and what you are interested in and put the data into a mathematical equation to figure out what would be the best match for them. There is a team of mathematicians that work for Match.com that do just that. Match .com caters to a broad spectrum of singles and is the biggest dating site on the internet.
There are more than 1,000 dating sites on the web. Some for people that want to meet people of a certain age, religion or race. You can even look for dates that share a particular hobby or educational background like ivy date.com. Lets go through some. Places like SingleParentMeet.com, eHarmony, chemistry.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com, ChristianMingle.com, blacksingles.com or Heart&Hobby.com
A lot of these sites use algorithyms to pair up folks often by factoring in their background and who they say they want to meet. After observing, however , at Match .com they observed that people break their own rules. Many will indicate what they want and then start scrolling and choosing someone completely different from what they originally said they wanted.
So, Match has changed and started tracking what you do on line and then recommends dates based on which profiles you are really checking out and who you respond to when they contact you. Mandy Ginsberg is the President of Match.com and she notes that even when you state your religion they find you are often scrolling for someone else with a different religion.
Not everyone is in love with dating algorithms. There is very little to believe that collecting information on 2 people that have never met can predict long term compatibility. And there is not any reason to believe that the algorithms can be effective so says psychology Professor Ely Finkel of Northwestern University who is the coauthor of a study put out there just this past week called: Online Dating A Critical Analysis From the Prospective of Psychological Science.
So, the report after all its analysis says that it may be luck rather than math equations that put people together. It is a billion dollar business with some dating sites charging as much as $60 dollars a month for providing matches. No one ever mentions your heart these days. Maybe someone will simply fall into your thoughts, and desires and simply says the same things you are saying at the same time that simply makes you feel good even if it is not fleshy but through words. That can be your match too.
 

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