Note: I wrote this post before we left California because we flew out on the red-eye which is going to make all of Wednesday a little bleary eyed. Don’t worry I will be posting about Wisconsin fun but here’s a little something to tide you over until then.
It’s no secret that Ryan and I met on OkCupid. We both tried other dating sites. (I’ll post my little online dating site preference rant some other time.) Ryan and I both went on a good amount of dates, both with people we met off as well as online. But we were on OkCupid at the same time, it was free! and that’s what worked for us.
So when I saw that OkCupid was in the news, I clicked on the link (OkCupid User Experiments) and read about how the site was experimenting with users. In order to see whether or not their matching algorithm was working, they took people who actually had low matches and gave them an artificially high match. Then they watched to see if that high match would increase the amount of time they would spend communicating.
Obviously, when they released the fact that they had done this, the public had mixed feelings. Having used OkCupid, I can’t imagine that an artificially high match would change the ultimate decision I would have made about someone. The questions that you answer for their algorithm ranged for me from inconsequential (movie and music preferences) to questions that I felt actually revealed character. For example, there was a question about how long it would take for you to have sex with someone (I would have sex with a stranger, first date, third date, committed relationship, wait until marriage). Seeing how someone answered that question already gave me a good idea of how their values matched mine. It didn’t matter that a few guys looked like they matched well with me, there were certain questions that revealed a lot about them and those were the questions I actually looked for to help make my decision about whether or not to even talk to let alone date someone.
Personally, as long as OkCupid didn’t change people’s answers, they can change the other numbers all they want and maybe I would have given a guy a first date based on the fake match but he certainly wouldn’t have gotten a second date. And even if OkCupid went so far as to change some of the answers, that’s why you email, talk on the phone and ultimately meet the person. Maybe someone is but I certainly wasn’t going to marry someone based on a profile picture and a good match according to OkCupid. Time will show who someone truly is and ultimately if you are looking for a specific set of beliefs or at a person’s character, you’re not going to be fooled by numbers that don’t really add up.
OkCupid is free. It’s easy to use. And it helped me find my amazing husband. As far as i’m concerned it wasn’t the algorithm that brought us together but we most likely wouldn’t have met without it. I hope that a little experimenting by the online dating sites won’t stop people from using these great resources to potentially meet their future spouse. OkCupid worked for us!