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Data and dating: Amy Webb gives her thoughts on online romance
On one date, the guy ordered the most expensive menu items at a restaurant then left her with the bill, Webb describes in her book, "Data: A Love Story. One of the problems Webb found with online dating was that she and her matches weren't filling out their profiles honestly. Where a site would ask her to describe herself, for example, she wrote things like "award-winning journalist" and "future thinker. These answers weren't matching her up with the types of people she wanted to meet because they didn't accurately describe her personality. Instead, they described how she'd want someone interviewing her for a job to see her. But the answer to her dating conundrum wasn't simply being more honest and taking time to actually answer the questions, she found out. Because even if she decided to be completely frank in her answers, her matches probably wouldn't be. As a result, keep getting matched up with people who don't fit our personalities at all. Research supports her idea.
These days, we're promised true love via algorithm. Log on to a website, enter in some data and — voila! Algorithm is really just a fancy name for the step-by-step process and calculations that are used while solving a problem. Think of an algorithm as you would a recipe for croissants. You need a set of ingredients: yeast, water, sugar, salt, flour, milk, oil, butter, and eggs.
The most important thing I learned was that online dating should be treated for what it really is: a big database. Since you can't control the quality of information being added by other people, it's on you to create a system to parse it. So the most essential lesson was this: You need to define, with great detail, your exact target audience, and then market yourself — you, the product — to land a committed relationship with that audience.
Why data is the secret to successful dating
This wasn't a part of the plan. At age 30, I was still single and had no exciting prospects. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.