SciTechBlog

Data mining can help you get a date

If you think online dating profiles with self-shot camera-phone pictures that scream "Check out my MySpace!" look ridiculous, well, you are probably right, but, according to a statistical study by the dating site OKCupid, these comical self-portraits work.

My impromptu attempt at a 'MySpace pic.' Note: Works better with women.

OKCupid analyzed over 7,000 profiles of "average-looking people" to determine which pictures most successfully attracted other users.

In looking closely at the astonishingly wide variety of ways our users have chosen to represent themselves, we discovered much of the collective wisdom about profile pictures was wrong.

According to OKCupid, the statistical data reveals four myths about successful profile pictures. Perhaps most surprising of these myths is the discovery that "the universally maligned 'MySpace Shot,' taken by holding your camera above your head and being just so darn coy" actually works.

Christian of OKCupid writes:

We were sure that everyone thought these pictures were kinda lame. In fact, the prospect of producing hard data on just how lame got us all excited. But we were so wrong.

In terms of getting new messages, the MySpace Shot is the single most effective photo type for women.

Before you break out the camera phone for your personal glamor shoot, recognize that OKCupid did not rate the type of attention these images received, only the frequency of communication between users.

For a full description of the data analysis and the four myths check out The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures.