My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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on dating

Last night, i went to the Commonwealth Club talk on dating in contemporary urban cultures. The panelists included folks from PlanetOut, Friendster, Match.com, and speed dating.

Obviously, i went to get a better idea of what Jonathan’s approach to dating was, in the hopes that it had evolved from the conversation we had a few months ago. It hadn’t. He still believes that relationship formation is not a science and that they just happen. [In March, he told me that the only thing people looked at when dating online is a picture and that he only put up the rest to make his advisors happy.] Of course, he also believes that his site exists out of happenstance and that it is simply that his friends told his friends and voila everyone was interested. –sigh–

Despite my disappointment with his perspective, i was truly taken aback by the rabbi who created speed dating. He was *great*. Unlike the Match.com rep (who had fantastic statistics and scientific analysis), the rabbi just had good insight and wisdom.

He told the audience that dating is like running a company. You can’t just rely on sales and marketing; you need to focus on product development (the product being you). Dating takes work and compromise.

He also told us to change our perspective on seeking people out. Rather than finding the best person for us, look for the person that we could spend the rest of our life trying to make happy. When two people are devoted to making each other happy, the relationship would work.

Those two thoughts are so simple, but yet they were said so elegantly and i really appreciated it.

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2 comments to on dating

  • not that i would generally consider ministers and rabbi’s the most experienced at dating…

    i’ve thought about the ‘make the other person happy’ key indicator before, but that seemed like a much harder thing to guage than ‘smart, unusual, sweet, and attractive’ that i usually go with. but since my s,u,s,a approach hasn’t worked all that well these years i think i’ll try switching to the rabbi’s approach…

  • I just count my pennies and nickles and buy the cutest woman I can afford.