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Finding Love at HBS—Going Digital

Dear readers, I have a confession to make: I have tried online dating, and I liked it.

Who needs a bar when you can search for a soulmate from the comfort of your own couch? Who needs pickup lines when you have all the time in the world to craft the perfect, witty, feels-like-we’ve-known-each-other-forever message? For those of us with more brain cells than good looks, online dating levels the playing field fantastically. Best of all, there are a multitude of services. So, whether you are looking for someone for life or someone for tonight, going digital will serve you well.

OkCupid

The Good:
There is a lot of diversity and the filtering feature makes you feel like a socio-sexual wizard. Did you know that there are seven 5’5” blondes with short hair and a penchant for foam fingers, wrecking balls, and twerking in the greater Boston area? OkCupid does. And now you do too.

The Bad:
Women get inundated with messages that range from long-form essays on compatibility to “sup ;)” with few good options in between. Men, eager to get noticed, respond to this perceived messaging tsunami by sending more messages. As a result every woman on the site is classified as “responds very selectively” and every man as “responds desperately.”

The Ugly:
Somehow each and every first date on OkCupid takes place downtown at Drink. The cocktails are great, but seeing everyone you’ve dated in the past year is not.

Grouper

The Good:
Dates can’t go terribly. Best case scenario: you and your two friends meet three great partners and bar crawl around the town inevitably ending with a game of Big Buck Hunter at the TAM or Karaoke in Chinatown. Worst case scenario: you get trashed with your two best friends and debate whether being single is awesome or terrible, just like any other Wednesday night.

The Bad:
Given that so much of the Grouper population is under 25, don’t expect to meet anyone looking to settle down and discuss family values. If you make it to the third bar before someone suggests doing body shots, you’re winning.

The Ugly:
There are a lot of HBS people on Grouper and they occasionally get matched together. Under such circumstances, conversations naturally default to norms and whether or not Boston Chicken was a Ponzi scheme.

Snapchat
The Good:
“Hey girl, you up?” now comes with visual aids.

The Bad:
It is way too easy to send the wrong snap to the wrong person.

The Ugly:
You know Snapchat saves those pictures, right?

Tinder
The Good:
Nothing feels better than playing “hot-or-not” with an entire metropolitan area. Except being matched with someone that would otherwise be way, way out of your league.

The Bad:
I have yet to hear of a single long-term relationship initiated on Tinder. That could be for two reasons: no one commits to people that they meet on Tinder or no one wants to admit that they have committed to someone they met on Tinder. Both explanations are telling.

The Ugly:
There is such a thing as too much Tinder. In fact, you can run out of users to rate. At which point the app will tell you that there are “no new users in your area.” If you reset the application, Tinder will allow you to re-rate everyone you have already seen, inviting you to either lower your standards or get rejected by the same person an additional time. So unless you want to be trapped in dating purgatory, Tinder with care.

Craigslist

The Good:
Don’t.

The Bad:
Don’t.

The Ugly:
You are shopping for a spouse in the same place you are looking for sublets, movers, and lightly-used mattresses. Life choices.

Hopefully that is enough to get any novice started. So, pull up those beach photos from 2011, throw on a pair of sweatpants, swallow your pride and get going. Who knows, the love of your life could be just a click away. ■

October 21, 2013
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