Dating turned into a sport. Dating apps like Tinder, Badoo, or Pure spawned a new generation of Instagram bloggers: girls running Challenges a la “30 dates a month.” It is clear where they find their victims.
But even those who do not care about subscribers and their clout prefer to look for adventures for one night or the love of their whole lives, without leaving their comfort zone, using the good old right swipe. And this desire to establish serious relationships by using Tinder-like apps is the topic of today’s article.
What do men and women pay attention to when they meet online, why do they look for serious relationships in applications more often than one-night sex, and how do dating sites limit our choice?
At a lecture in New Holland, Professor and Deputy Director of the Higher School of Economics at St. Petersburg, Daniil Aleksandrov, talked about why dating sites are a revolution in relationships, and because of this, people prefer tinder to common ways of meeting other people in real life.
On the one hand, romantic dating online is interesting because it is a product of mass behaviour, and on the other hand, people appear there as they are.
There are hundreds of sites where you can get acquainted with someone for the sake of romantic relationships. This is a huge ecosystem with its mathematical and cognitive laws. At the same time, their data is confidential: no site discloses a pairing algorithm, except for OkCupid.
How people met at different times and why online dating is becoming more popular
In the 1950s, family relationships were the main factor for dating; later – dating through friends, and then bars, workplaces, colleges, and so on. From the 2000s, the importance of online dating begins to increase day by day, and by the end of 2017, they came out on top in the United States. Now, dating through friends is in second place.
How do people choose each other? First of all, it is determined by the status associated with education and reputation in society. And in the second place comes professional occupation, which plays a huge role in the formation of marriage.
Here’s yet another important point. Earlier, people formed families to move away from their parent’s homes and try to get laid. However, they weren’t against the idea of getting married without the need to be compatible in all the possible ways – the husband earns money, and his wife sits at home and does household chores.
As for sexual orientations, heterosexuals find it quite easier to find a partner by using dating sites and applications. There are a lot of people to choose from, and, in general, there are a lot more apps for heterosexuals. As for gay people, the possibility of meeting a partner is lower, and the chance of establishing a serious relationship is a lot smaller.
Online dating sites are an absolute revolution in the field of romantic relationships, which expands our choice. The main motivation of people in Tinder and Grindr must be the search for a permanent relationship.
There is an idea that these applications are mainly used for sex for one night. No, all studies show that this is not the case, and one would think that people are more interested in sex than serious relationships right now, but this is not the case. And it is quite easy to get the reason why.
At a night club, you meet a person but don’t have to spend that much time getting to know them – you skip this part and get straight to sex. But in the case of dating sites, you can talk to each other and spend a lot of getting to know one another.
It seems to you that on the site, you will find someone you like. After all, you have all the time in the world to find the best compliments for her, exchange stories, and figure out whether you like each other or not; there is no burden of physical contact.
So, on eHarmony, they suggest filling out a profile with 400 questions in it and claim that they will pick a person who is really close to you thanks to the algorithms. This is an abyss of data.
How Romantic Algorithms Influence User Choices
The idea of Tinder is speed. Swipe left or right – and nothing more. And this leads to addiction: people swipe through photographs for an hour and a half a day. Justin Long is a Canadian engineer who created the Bernie program that automates communication.
He chose photographs of girls that he liked and didn’t like and taught the computer how to look for similar ones. Then he created a message algorithm. And after a certain number of positive answers, he received a notification that it was time to move on to real conversations. Tinder found out about this and asked Justin to stop developing his algorithm.
Kate Lyadova is a successful designer that lives in Toronto, who at some point realized that she spent too much time on online dating. And she posted an ad stating that she needed a personal manager who would find a partner for her.
And then she wrote a touching and funny book called “Dating Vandalized” – it is about how far away human relationships are from artificial intelligence and online dating.
Why are these algorithms needed? Imagine what you are told that this person suits you perfectly. “Ah, how great! I’ve finally found them.” Dating sites have a placebo effect: it seems to you that a certain person suits you more than others. And this effect is necessary.
If there are no restrictions, you will have the feeling that you are in some kind of vacuum. You will feel like there is no reason to cling to someone that you like after you encounter a single thing that you don’t like about them, you start thinking that you should probably start your search for someone else, and this cycle can be endless.
But when you are not lost in that vacuum, and you don’t have all the freedom in the world – you value what you’ve got.
In a market where opportunities are unlimited, you are overloaded. If you deal with this madness and swipe right and left, then a person will always think that tomorrow there will be someone better. It’s very hard. Sites limit your choices. Their task is to bring you together with someone in the real world, and you will have to figure it out from then on yourself.
Back to Justin Long, who created the artificial intelligence called Bernie. When he was a student in Vancouver, he met a girl at a bus stop and had conversations with her; once it ended, they parted and went their own ways. They didn’t have a romance either.
After some time, Justin accidentally found her in Tinder and wrote that he missed their conversations, and they began to date. Naturally, I began to look for information about whether they are together now. Most recently, he tweeted their photo with their dog – and this, in my opinion, is a great story to finish our lecture.