Want to improve your OKC profile? Christian Rudder tells us how.

I recently had the honor of being a panelist with Christian Rudder, OkCupid‘s co-founder, on HuffPost Live about his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). On http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e  , I had a chance to ask Christian the burning question we all want to know: what are some of the reasons that people represent themselves as what they want you to see rather than the real person that will emerge in a relationship?

Christian attributes that to be something that is part of real life and human nature. He also added that the advantages of OKC is that people can meet each other in real life and determine chemistry quickly. I was hoping that he was going to provide stats about the discrepancy and maybe discuss some of the ways their algorithm may refine the process. Darn 🙁 Screenshot 2014-09-12 at 2.46.55 PM

Other highlights from the interview:

*Women search for men closer to their age, while men regardless of their age still seek 22 year olds. Christian attributes that to men still not growing up and that models in magazines are that age. Check out Dr Drew’s take: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/09/11/ok-cupid-online-dating-age-women-men-attraction

*50 year old men don’t usually contact 20 year old women for the realities of a higher rejection rate.

*The hot or not feature is not designed to have everyone flocking to the most popular person on the site, it’s designed to give everyone a chance to pair off with what they find most attractive.

*OKC does not manipulate factual data such as age, sexual orientation, they alter minor details like size of photo to help users have better compatibility results based on their desired characteristics.

Check out the full video for more behind the scenes insights on OKC and let me know what you think.  http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e  

19 thoughts on “Want to improve your OKC profile? Christian Rudder tells us how.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your insights Anne! It was interesting that the the host and Christian both felt that it was men shooting to high if they approach women not in their age range.

      Some of the articles they put out are really sterotypical. Did you see the one about What White People Really Want?

  1. People (I think) tend to mimic behaviour or opinions that they think the other person likes, because they’re uncertain that their own behaviour will cut the mustard. The irony is, of course, that if they showed off more of their own true personality, they would probably be more attractive. Although that’s almost unimaginably risky if you’re insecure. Tough being human, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us Elaine! I agree completely! I also think that online adds another layer where people can feel comfortable taking on a different persona to attract more people. We are all in a sea of many social streams, so the thinking is the more you stand out the better you will do online.

  2. I cut right to the chase and say exactly what I want. When men who contact me have profiles that don’t match my wants, I let them know right away that they obviously didn’t read through it.

    1. Women search for men closer to their age,

      Which doesn’t explain the four or five women who were old enough to be my mother who contacted me within my first month on POF and OKCupid. I’m sure I spoke to many more who thought it was a good idea to lie about their age.

      while men regardless of their age still seek 22 year olds.

      Well that’s a sweeping generalisation and I wish men like this would stop projecting their own attitudes onto the rest of us so they feel better about themselves chasing 22 year olds when they are in their 50s.

      When I started two years ago, I had no interest in women that young and had a vague idea that I wouldn’t want to date anyone under about 30 (I was 37). I only went on a date with one woman under 30, she was 23 and had approached me. As lovely as she was, after meeting I felt the age gap was too large.

      1. Oh there are so many other sweeping generalizations that the book makes from the data they collect off its users!!

        I know you aren’t seeking out 22 y.o. women, but did you think that his explanation holds true? That the models in magazines are 22 and that’s why men are attracted to that age?

        1. No idea if it’s true, I just don’t like being treated like a monolith as if all men are the same. It’s counter-productive to beliefs and understanding about any interpersonal relationships. Not all women want a 6′ millionaire slab of muscle and not all men want a 22 year old stick thin model.

          What people don’t understand about online dating is that the lower risks of rejection has fewer repercussions, and that the gamble is weighted in favour of those who are expected to do the approaching. Those 50 year old men chasing 22 year old women are deluded; in real life I doubt that many of them would be approaching women that young, or get close enough to chat her up. Those that do just have no perception filter that his chances of success are really low. They have everything to gain (in her being in any way receptive) and nothing to lose (by her rejection), that’s why they do it. I doubt many of them believe they will get an answer.

          That the models in magazines are 22 and that’s why men are attracted to that age?

          We, like you, are being sold a product. For us it is that we are entitled – regardless of what we have to offer – to a 22 year old stick thin model. For you (not you personally, but women in general) that you are entitled to – regardless of what you have to offer – a millionaire 6′ slab of muscle.

          Many of my friends were approached by women way below their educational level and old enough to be their mother – it is clear they did not read their profiles either. I don’t get why people want to pretend that women do not delude themselves in this way? The fact that it is more prevalent because of the traditional gender role of men making the approach, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

          1. I don’t doubt that it happens to men. I am not sure that I would attribute it to an approach thing. Online provides women the ability to approach men. The reality is online dating is the new bar. You are going to find all types that you are attracted to and not.

            After watching the video, did he strengthen your opinion of online dating or did it perpetuate stereotype?

            1. I think it perpetuates stereotypes and I think that’s what he was going for in order to sell his book.

              You and I both have a scientific background and when it comes to social science, interpretation is critical. Though I don’t doubt his data collection, I’m concerned about his methods of interpretation and even whether he is asking the right questions in the right way or whether he went in with preconceived notions and then found evidence to support it, ignoring anything that contradicted that.

              For example, HOT OR NOT is not a good way of determining anything. You are asking whether a person is physically appealing, you are not asking whether they think there is a good match or even whether they would even go on a date with that person. To assume one means the other is erroneous.

              I am concerned about his conclusions much like (goes back to check) Anthony was concerned about his collection method.

              1. I think that he thinks it’s really great work. He called it behavioral science! He is a mathematician and isn’t really looking to explain human phenomena in any real way. He wants the algorithms to capture a real formula.

                Yeah, I had no idea they where using hot/not to pair people up with similar scores. That’s Tindr!!!!!

                LOL yeah Anthony wanted to get to the bottom of his algo. I wanted him to answer why the algo doesn’t have enough parameters in it.

                1. If it was such great work it would have been in an academic journal, not on sale as a hardback book. I always mistrust commercialism packaged as science.

                  As a mathematician, he is seemingly treating people as mindless drones thoughtlessly following social norms. Always a bad idea.

                  1. You should look at some of the data that OKTrends produces. It all recycles every single stereotype and provides little insights.

                    The sad thing is that although he claims not to be collecting info for marketing purposes, other companies do. All of this latest trend on Big Data are companies looking out our behaviors online to determine our story/narrative 🙁 When you look out how people behave online they do follow social norms. It didn’t surprise me that a co can determine many things about you based on what you like (the case Christian referred to). Predicting parental divorce 20 years ago was an impressive data point, though 🙂

  3. I think guys tend to seek far younger women, let’s say a guy who is 50, seeking a woman in my age range, because it reminds them of their youth. Mortality is something people refuse to admit or even talk about. It is like the elephant in the room.

    To remain with a woman his age, mortality is constantly knocking at his door. However, when he is with someone 20-30 years younger, it allows him to escape, even if there is no sexual chemistry or genuine romance between them. Having others see them together is enough. I am sure this is similar for older women, who seek guys my age. There are other reasons of course, but at the core, I think this can be the foundation for both older men and women.

    1. That is a great explanation! Thanks for sharing your insights! Women face mortality more frequently than men, are aware of their mortality, and allows it to inform their choices. Biological clock is an example. I don’t know that the mortality theory holds true for women. When women date younger, it is sexual.

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