Online Dating By The Numbers And What They Say About Us
On Sunday, The New York Times had a great article about how more and more online dating sites are extracting information from the profiles of members to study “attraction, trust, deception — even the role of race and politics in romance.”
For years, scientists have relied on U.S. Census Data to gauge how and why people come together, and fall in love, but in the study the Times cites, over 1 million dating profiles were researched, and overall, major dating sites like Match.com and OkCupid.com received more than 593 million visits in the United States last month. What this means is now more than ever online dating profiles are probably the best way to learn why and how we fall for one another. ““As more and more of life happens online, it’s less and less the case that online is a vacuum,” Andrew T. Fiore, a professor at Facebook told the Times. “It is life.”
So it is, Andrew. The rest of the article had some very interesting facts, which I couldn’t help but reassess here. Keep in mind, what all this data means is essentially in some form or another, the way we behave online is a lot similar to the way we engage each other in real life. Here are some of those numbers and my thoughts.
81: Percentage of people who misrepresent their height, weight or age in profiles.
8.5: Number of pounds thinner women say they are versus their real life weight
2: Number of pounds thinner men say they are versus their real life weight
.5: Number of inches a man gives himself in height
The Times says: Scholars say a certain amount of fibbing is socially acceptable — even necessary — to compete in the online dating culture…research shows that lying is partly a result of tension between the desire to be truthful and the desire to put one’s best face forward. So profiles often describe an idealized self; one with qualities they intend to develop (i.e., “I scuba dive”) or things they once had (i.e., a job). Some daters bend the truth to fit into a wider range of search parameters; others unintentionally misrepresent their personalities because self-knowledge is imperfect.”
Jozen says: This is why I don’t go to online dating sites for any action. It’s a cesspool (81 percent!? ) of people who either don’t want to admit their overweight and under-height or don’t believe they are out of ignorance of self. A good question after the weight question for a woman would be, “Do you own a scale?” If she says no, she is 8.5 pounds heavier than she says she is. For a man, after the height question, “Do you like to play basketball?” If he says no, you guessed it, he’s probably a half-inch shorter than he says he is, and also likely to be shorter than you might think.
80: Percentage of white members who reached out to other white members on a major dating site.
3: Percentage of white members who reached out to black members.
10: Number of times more likely blacks would contact whites than whites were to contact blacks.
The Times says: [University of California, Berkeley psychology professor Gerald A.] Mendelsohn, set out to study relationship formation, not ethnicity. Yet along the way he found that white more than black, women more than men, and old more than young prefer a same-race partner.
Jozen Says: Duh! Because statistically black women are more single than women of other ethnicities, I always thought encouraging black women to date outside of their race was a somewhat flawed piece of advice or at least, a tad bit misdirected. I don’t see this piece of advised being stressed on other ethnicities, specifically non-black men. I have said this before, white men, Asian men, Hispanic men need to also be told to date outside their race, and be encouraged to date black women. This is not for the sake of charity, this is for the sake of getting rid of the sad double standard found in relationship talk. Why is only one group of people being told to date outside of their race, especially when other groups aren’t being encouraged to do the same and statistically don’t do the same?
PROFILE PICTURES LIE TOO
18: Number of months old a woman’s profile picture is on a dating site, on average.
6: Number of months old a man’s profile picture is on a dating site, on average.
The Times says: People were most honest about their age…probably because they can claim ignorance about weight and height. Even so, in a different study, profile photographs [were embellished].
Jozen says: It should be a requirement for every member of every major dating site to update their photo every three months. If they don’t, their profile is taken down and will not go back up until they supplement their profile with a new photo. Problem solved. Another thing we should all be aware of, and I wish the Times would have done some research on this, is the various types of profile photographs taken and what they mean. Here’s a list:
The same people who lie about their weight also take pictures from the neck up.
The same people who lie about their height, take group shots with people who are their height, children who are shorter than them, or standing on a couch with the couch hidden.
Women who take pictures in the club only care about looking good between the hours of 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Men who take their own profile picture have less friends than men whose profile picture was taken by someone else.
There is a 50 percent chance the person who took the great photo of the guy you’re interested in messaging, was snapped by his current girlfriend. It’s her favorite too.