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Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.Plus, many big sites have been hesitant to allow independent researchers to look at their matching algorithms in depth. Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: “Jewish” and “journalist.”Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.After a rough breakup last January, I was sad and single in the Big Apple.
The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can’t predict and online profiles can’t demonstrate.
This suggests that online dating is proving to be no more effective at creating lasting relationships than the old standards.“I really didn’t see it as any different from the way that people met each other for decades past,” said Feifer. creates a relationship, is not the Other daters agreed, and so does Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk.
“Online dating doesn’t change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or if I will be a good partner.
“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.
There’s just a disconnect between what social science says is actually possible, and what the sites say they can do,” said Slater.
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“Maybe it’s not the best means to the end of finding the best relationship, but it gives people a way to do something about their situation.