Unsolicited Questions: Online Dating 2014?

Amidst stories of CES, EU economy news, and Michael Bay, was an article about a comedian's attempt at the worst online dating profile. Now, a lot of the technical sites I visit overhauled or tweaked their home page at the start of 2014 - PCMag, Engadget, PCWorld and All Thing D all sported revamped or redesigned portals just this January. However, I also noted that during the first week of the new year (and sometime around the last week of 2013), there were articles on online dating. Today, I can't seem to locate those blasted articles to justify this post but I'm publishing this article anyway.

The Wall Street Journal (related to All Things D) published an article about online dating and economics and my favorite news website BBC confirmed that January is a "boom month" for online dating and I immediately slapped myself when the article also pointed out part of the reason why was Valentine's Day. There are other articles about users actually believing wholeheartedly in online dating and statistics.

Like social networking, I really don't have much of an interest in online dating. I'm more interested if the service providers use Hadoop or Ubuntu/Red Hat/SUSE with their IBM blades than I am of signing up for an online dating profile. The hazards of online dating mirror the hazards of Facebook, Craigslist (is that still around?), Google privacy, NSA and just going online in general. I'm aware that online dating apps and services are a big deal in parts of Asia and usage of the technology has probably changed social conventions drastically. Instead of "Boy meets girl, Boy falls in love with girl" it has become "Boy downloads app, Girl signs up online, Boy sends message, Girl sends selfie..." and so on culminating in Snapchat or the couple changing their Facebook status.

At the heart of online dating is a database, an algorithm and a server

Obviously, my knowledge (and ignorance) of dating hasn't changed much since 1998.  As old-fashioned as I am though, I think it's fantastic that devices and web services trigger some type of positive effect to social behavior - there are too many negative effects documented already. If online dating can help guys like Keisuke (the blogger who goes on Hitori dates) and prevent depressed loners and introverts from harming themselves then I'm all for it.

Old-school partner hunting in People's Square, Shanghai

I'm a huge fan of technology and perhaps someday I'll sign up to a social networking site and actually end up on an "instant" date. One thing I am sure of is that when I do fill out that online profile form, I certainly won't pretend I'm 6"1, can dance like Justin Timberlake, and have a bottomless wallet. Unlike Al in Aladdin (1992), I don't have a genie who sounds like Robin Williams and a clever monkey to get me out of trouble during a date.


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