WSJ article – “Hacking the Hyperlinked Heart”

data_love_storyLast week the Wall Street Journal ran a fantastic article entitled “Hacking the Hyperlinked Heart.” The piece was adapted from Amy Webb’s upcoming book “Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match,” which I can’t wait to read. Many pieces and books about online dating frustrate me (AHEM, The Atlantic—I’ll be ranting at you soon), but this was a truly fascinating set of insights from a gal who’s nerdy-minded like me but with a better and more determined data-driven approach to her dating dilemmas. Ugh, I swear I’m not trying to sound like a weird Hallmark card about online dating with all that alliteration. It’s been a long week(end)! :)

Amy wasn’t meeting the kinds of men she wanted, so she took matters into her own hands:

Drawing on my background in data analysis, I set out to reverse engineer my profile. I outlined 10 male archetypes and created profiles for each of them on JDate. There was JewishDoc1000, the private-practice cardiologist who hated cruise-ship travel, and LawMan2346, an attorney who was very close to his family and a former national debate champion.

Please take some time to click through and read the whole piece. Amy’s experience was so interesting, and it revealed trends I never would have expected and that I think most online dating metrics/analysis powerhouses also haven’t caught, such as (spoilers!) women lying DOWN about their height. No wonder I had a hard time at nearly six feet tall and vocal about it. :)

This is perhaps my favorite more “random” observation she made:

It’s really hard to be funny in print—especially if you’re naturally prone to sarcasm. I found that people who thought they were being funny in their profiles weren’t. Instead, they seemed angry or aloof.

So true. Humor is one of the most powerful ways to stand out online, but you HAVE to be careful. Consider having a friend (or, you know, me) read over your attempt at sardonic wit so you don’t accidentally scare off potential suitors.

I find most online dating exposé pieces to be contrived in that they’re usually seeking to prove a flaw in the system, but this was a seriously awesome read with a different and ultimately more positive approach. What I wouldn’t give to pick her brain over lunch or drinks! I’ve already pre-ordered her book on Kindle, and I NEVER do that. :)

The WSJ also did a follow-up blog post answering some reader questions, too. You can find Amy on Twitter if you’d like to follow more of her interesting data discoveries; you can find her book on Twitter; and you can check out her book’s site for more developments. AND you can read the NYT Book Review piece, too!

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