The next iteration of dating sites has arrived, and they match you with people based on what you read, watch, and find funny on the internet. This may sound creepy — just one more entity tracking your online movements — but if you think about it, it’s pretty brilliant.
Regular dating sites rely on you to create your profile. You fill in a bunch of information about what you like and don’t like. But you could just as easily fill in information about what you think you should like. But if you listed Proust instead of the more honest E.L. James, who’s to say that DreamGuy28 didn’t embellish, too?
LaughMatch in particular seems like it could have a lot of potential because a shared sense of humor is an important element to any functioning human relationship, and one that’s often difficult to put into words or capture with a list. This video-rating system is a much closer online equivalent to meeting in person and laughing at the same silly things.
But of course, there’s the problem of the fact that shared interests, or even shared sense of humor, don’t necessarily translate to compatibility. Some of the best friendships, and relationships, are as much about differences as they are about commonalities. And also about neither, but about whatever that indescribable thing is that all dating websites claim to be able to translate to an algorithm.
One site has found a clever way around the limiting, rather clinical approach of many dating sites that assume that if two people read and watch the same things and share similar political views they’ll probably fall in love. On TalkOverTea, users start with conversation and have access to each other’s profiles bit by bit, more like in real life when you have to spend some time talking to a person before you know what their favorite movies and wildest dreams are.
I’m still skeptical of online dating in general, but I am glad that it’s evolving, and as more and more of life takes place online, developers are finding new ways to get to know the people behind the profiles.