It's now becoming more out in the open that our favorite websites like Facebook and OKCupid conduct experiments on us. Some believe it's a bad thing. They're wrong.
Dating website, OKCupid explained they see nothing wrong with experimenting in order to better their service. They previously did an experiment where they matched people who were only compatible by 30 percent, but told them they were "exceptionally good" matches with 90 percent. They found that users send messages to these false "exceptionally good matches". When the users came into contact they acted as if they are compatible — even though they're not.
You may be upset to think that you may have wasted your time with a false "good" match, but without this experiment we would have never come to the realization of one weird thing. People put so much trust into dating sites that they will interact with someone who has a profile filled with traits that aren't compatible with and then pretend to have something in common with them. What does that say about us?
It says that if a person truly wants a relationship then they will make it work. Even if it is with someone who doesn't seem that compatible with them.
On paper my boyfriend and I wouldn't seem like we would be a good match. He's part of a big family, a sports fanatic, doesn't watch much television (and strongly hates reality television), hates the outdoors, hates pop music and is not very interested in exercise. I. on the other hand, am basically an only child and don't have any family aside from my mother who lives in the same state as me. I hate sports, love television (especially reality television), love the outdoors, love pop music and push myself to exercise 5-7 times a week.
Yes, sometimes we fight about how to spend our time together. Whenever he gets his hands on the remote control he turns to something I can't stand. If I even try to watch my shows or listen to my pop music he says, "I can't do this," and immediately tries and succeeds at changing the channel. I know we will probably not go to a concert together because our tastes are so different. I will be his last choice to take to a professional sports game. We will always go back and forth on where to vacation because his fair skin burns in the sun, while my dark skin relishes it.
But we have been together for two years now because we love each other and have a mutual respect for one another. Yes, it's possible that OKCupid's experiment resulted in more short exchanges between incompatible people than actual relationships, but it's always good to step outside your comfort zone because you never know how things may work out.
Plus, these websites are fairly new and are still figuring out what they are doing.
"It's not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up a blueprint or something," said Mr. Christian Rudder, one of the founders of OKCupid to BBC News. "Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out."
So perhaps we should cut the free dating website a little slack. They're one of the first to do what they are doing, and in the end they want their users to find love. Having people try things out with a bad match could be a way to reach that goal.