This Mathematician Hacked His Way To True Love On OkCupid
What OKCupid's Experiments Mean for YOUR Love Life
It's no surprise that OkCupid knows all about your dating behavior—they've been blogging about their user data for years now. And recently, they admitted to running some really interesting experiments on users to gain more intel about how online dating works. No, your horrendously bad date last year wasn't actually an actor—these studies were a little more subtle than that. Still, the results may get you thinking about how you approach online dating, potential matches, and even the connection you feel on a date.
In one experiment, OkCupid deliberately "mismatched" users to see if they would still pursue each other based on the site's recommendation. For example, the site would tell a pair that they had a compatibility score of 90 percent when theyactuallyhad a compatibility score of 30 percent. The crazy thing? When people were told that they were well suited for one another, they were almost just as likely to end up in a real conversation (lasting at least four messages) than if they reallywerewell suited for one another. In other words, when people were told they should like each other, they did—whether or not they actually had anything in common.
In another experiment, OkCupid removed all the photos from the site for a day to see how users would respond differently when their matches were "blind." Amazingly, they found that users were more likely to respond to initial messages, conversations lasted longer, and numbers were exchanged more quickly than normal. The catch? People weren't nearly as interested in using the site without pictures, and once the photos went back up, most of the conversations dead-ended. (Womp womp.)
"The findings from the OkCupid experiment are themselves quite interesting—and underscore how much people want to believe in these sites," says sociologist Kevin Lewis, Ph.D. "I remember myself, back when I was single, giving more than a second glance to someone I would totally have skipped over otherwise, except that OkCupid told me we were 98 percent compatible or whatever."
It makes sense that online dating can sometimes give way to trusting in the numbers, rather than scouting out what you'reactuallylooking for on someone's profile. So instead of relying solely on the numbers to find your match, Lewis suggests using the site as a "filter."
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"Online daters should think of these sites as filters, not as matchmakers. If there's a certain characteristic you know you want, then filter based on that—and then get out on as many dates as possible to see who you actually get along with." For instance, maybe you're just looking for more guys in your age group in your area, or you're looking for other women in a creative field. Or maybe a clever sense of humor is vital, so you're looking specifically for users who draw you in with an awesome profile or message. Whatever it is you're looking for, these sites can definitely help you cut down on the noise to find it.
MORE:9 Things You Should Never Say on a First Date
He also recommends making the first move online. "Studies have repeatedly shown that men make the majority of first advances. Research hasalsoshown that when they do make the first move, women are much more likely to be successful.
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