As someone who has been single in his life more years than not, and living in one of the worst cities ever for dating, I can confidently predict that Facebook’s dating app will be a huge success.
I know, I know. Everyone is all up in Facebook’s face about privacy concerns. Who would want to get involved in a Facebook dating app considering all the privacy issues that the company is already facing?
Let me get that argument out of the way. Facebook already has all the same personal information on your profile that you’ve chosen to share with it that you would share with anyone on the dating app.
Now that we’ve dispensed with that, let me share the sociological insights as to why Facebook’s dating app will be a winner, even if others say it won’t.
The best way to meet someone is to do so organically in the real world. That’s a given. Yet there is no denying that the Internet completely destroyed the stigma of finding partners indirectly.
Up until about 20 years ago, classified ads in newspapers were truly thought of as the dating ghetto. You had to be a loser if you were using them.
Then came Match.com, and all the other online options. Those have since been supplemented by a bevy of smartphone apps.
The problem with smartphone apps is that they rely almost entirely on photographs of individuals. The instant gratification of being able to swipe left or right has eliminated all complexity and nuance from the process. One of the great things about some of the desktop dating websites is the ability to give a more comprehensive view of oneself.
However, the very fact that Facebook has so much data from individual profiles is why their matching algorithms are likely to succeed more than any other application. The algorithms will allow Facebook to suggest you to other people have also opted into the dating profile.
You have the option to create a separate Facebook dating profile, or simply have it linked to your current profile, as well as your Instagram feed.
Facebook dating says it will not match you with Facebook friends, but the Secret Crush feature will make official what I imagine is already going on with friends of friends, both on Facebook and in the real world.
That is, if you are friends with Jackm and Jack’s friend Bob is single and interesting to you, you would naturally ask for an introduction. Now you can tell Bob directly.
This Secret Crush feature will be very popular, because notifying a friend of a friend that you are interested is more likely to spark interest. That’s because having a mutual friend instantly creates the feeling of a safer connection, in which you are both also more likely to have something in common.
Also, the simple act of being able to link to your Facebook profile through a dating app allows potential partners to have a comprehensive view of who you are, warts and all.
While that may turn off a lot of people, those who have no fear about showing the world who they truly are (if that’s what their Facebook profile actually represents) may allow for better matches. Privacy is hardly the issue here.
On the other hand, there is a possible downside to this approach.
Facebook can often be a place where people are more likely to let their Id loose, because of the feeling of anonymity that it provides. As such, Facebook profiles may not provide a true account of who someone is.
But I guess that’s what first dates are for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.com.