Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SXSW Interactive: The Future & Evolution of Online Dating

Below is my first ever proposal to speak at South by Southwest. There were over 3,000 submissions (almost 1,000 more than last year) and there are only 500 slots available. The public vote is open from now until September 2nd. If my idea interests you, please take a minute to sign up and vote for it here.



"The 90’s introduced adolescents to the wonders of dial-up Internet, screen names, and the pursuit of digital romance. The only problem was we never truly knew who was on the other end of the screen. Today, there is an increased level of transparency thanks to the help of social networks and dating sites. We now share our real names, photos, and tidbits of personal information. Since the beginning, dating sites have used search algorithms to connect people, however little has changed since then. These engines leverage information people provide to create connections, but what if the information submitted isn't true? Sites such as are starting to evolve their methods by pairing search algorithms with user behavior to provide more accurate recommendations. This presentation will give a nostalgic view of the past, cover best practices, and include video snippets of interviews with leaders in the digital dating industry as well as couples who met online to provide a unique consumer perspective."


Eli Pariser gave a very inspiring TED talk back in May. He said, "as web companies strive to tailor their services to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview." The situation is almost identical with online dating. If dating algorithms continue to focus on tailoring their recommendations to people then where does that leave spontaneity and chance?

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