Just recently SkaDate Dating Software blog covered a story about Eli J. Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University. He published a report on online dating, and while parsing the concept in general, pointed out that it does not always work as advertised. Specifically, there are doubts about the validity of the science behind matchmaking algorithms.
“Online dating is good. I’m very glad it exists,” Finkel said, “The problem is that the way online dating is implemented undermines some amount of its goodness.”
This seems like a fair assessment of one of the most successful and bullet-proof industries, although one would be hard-pressed to find any global business that does not have flaws whatsoever, and is still praised all around.
Nevertheless, mainstream media jumped on the bandwagon and had a field day (rather an entire month) blasting online dating with criticism and explaining the audience how it does not really work. Which, ironically, is not what the original report said at all.
Truth is, readers, especially those already online, are likely familiar with the specificity of Internet businesses, of which online dating is a big part. The number of active Internet daters is still growing for more than a decade now, and so is the figure for successful matches, which means one of the two things. Either it really works, or people just have their own opinion and use the service anyway. Basically, they don’t care about online dating science or algorithms, they come for other benefits.
In this day and age no one goes to a dating site expecting instant positive results, just because a mathematical equation says so. Online dating is not magic and everyone who’s ever tried it knows it well. You can and will get results, if you are ready to communicate and invest some time and effort into it.
In this sense, magic, science, or whatnot, it would be foolish to expect a significantly different outcome from actually dating online as compared to real life. Most people understand that, and they also understand the advantages of Internet romance. Namely, cost-effectiveness, security, and the most important thing – the enormous pool of singles on display. We all give people what they want – a chance to meet their match and the opportunity to expand their social circle. The rest is up to them. Maybe they’ll quickly sail to success and leave, or maybe they will stick around, since the journey is pleasant as well.
In any case, science does helps us improve the tool for e-romance, but it does not run our show. Love does. Luckily, no one questions the validity of love, even though it is even more elusive than matchmaking algorithms.