With the launch of Facebook's new feature, is traditional online dating in jeopardy?
According to Facebook’s website, their new Graph Search feature let’s you “find people who share your interests,” “explore your world through photos” and “discover restaurants, music and more.”
In essence, it’s a tool that will let you search the Facebook community (your friends and connections) using simple, specific phrases such as “likes cycling and is from Brooklyn,” which would probably garner about 2 million hits.
According to a recent Business Insider article titled “Facebook’s Graph Search Would Make Online Dating Unbearably Awkward,” which quotes the who’s who in the online dating world, using the new service for dating is “awkward at best.”
Aaron Schildkrout, co-CEO of HowAboutWe, is quoted in the article as saying:
"Pretend you search for your Bjork loving Cobble Hill 27-year-old. You find your match. She looks cool. And then...what? You pay a dollar to message her on Facebook? You friend her out of the blue and wait? To me, these actions all feel just kind of... off. You have the clear sense that this is not quite what Facebook was built to do."
When Facebook first launched Graph Search in January 2013, dating and technology experts thought the service would mark the end for traditional online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com.
The reality is people have been using Facebook to meet potential mates and go on dates for nearly a decade.
Graph Search won’t kill off established online dating sites. Instead, it will alienate Facebook users who don’t want every facet of their lives “searched” using simple, specific phrases.
Sure, you can argue most people who have a profile on Facebook realize their privacy is diminished the more they share.
But sharing photos of your trip to Italy with friends is different than being a blip on a graph when someone searches “30-year-old Miami Beach girl photos from Italy trip.”
So the message here isn’t for online dating sites worried about losing their users to Facebook Graph Search. With more than 40 million people in the United States using an online dating service, that’s not going to happen.
The message here is for Facebook. Keep your fingers out of the dating pool and continue doing what you do best — connecting people and letting them decide if that relationship will turn from platonic to romantic.