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The Apocalypse Of Online Dating Is Here, Brought To You By Datamatch

Social Media Editor Youngweon Lee valiantly sacrificed herself as a guinea pig to test out this Harvard-created online dating site (?) to write a review. Tl;dr – Bwog’s verdict is to stick to Tinder. 

The worst holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day, is inevitably coming around the disgustingly pink-themed corner. This year, this stench of late-stage capitalism disguised as “the season of love” was tinted with the scent of computer science nerds from…Harvard. Somehow, this month got even worse. (No offense to other computer science nerds, though, or the rest of Harvard.) So this thing called “Datamatch,” which was initially available only at Harvard since 1994, could not contain its monstrous tentacles and spread to Brown, Wellesley, Columbia, and Barnard. Other schools apparently wanted Datamatch’s matchmaking services, but only these four “wooed their way to the top… Everyone else, sorry booboo.” Arrogant pricks. Very typical of Harvard. Why the hell did they even pick Columbia? (Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question.)

If you’re asking that you’d “like to bring Datamatch to [insert institution for make people much smart here]. How do?” They answer that “Ooh! Ooh! We did that! And maybe we could do more of that! Sharing the joy of Datamatch is a high priority for us…Preferred modes of communication include telegram and snail mail (use of real snails encouraged).” I see that they’re trying to be funny and clever with their “snail mail” bullshit and intentional use of incomprehensibly warbled grammar, and I see them failing. The “Ooh! Ooh!” is a sad, pathetic attempt at being cute. I almost feel bad shitting on them like this.

At Columbia, they seem to have some sort of partnership with Jester Humor Magazine. Between Jester and Datamatch Harvard, we received no less than three emails about this asking for a post about it since they launched on February 7th. That’s an average of one a day. (Datamatch and Jester – I hope you’re reading this and that you’re finally satisfied!) The last one was titled “Okay Look, You’re Funny, We’re Funny. Why’s it been 5 minutes without a reply?” First of all, no, you’re not funny, Datamatch. Second of all, calm down. This email also referred to Datamatch as “the greatest thing to hit the Columbia dating scene since the invention of the penis.” They told us that as of Saturday afternoon, over 600 students from Columbia signed up on Datamatch, and they were mostly women. They apparently chose to reach out to Bwog, because our “readership is off-the-charts horny.” (Guys, is this true?) Outside of Columbia, as of 1:13 am on February 11th, 2018, 6,600 people in total “trust Datamatch” (i.e. registered on this God-awfully pink site).

I’m not joking about this LinkedIn thing

Moving on from their incessant, annoying, unfunny emails and “about us,” when you register with your uni from an eligible university, they ask for your name, your gender (male, female, and non-binary options), the gender you want to match with, and class year. There are more optional parts like a description of yourself under 70 characters, your major, etc., but these are the required fields. Like Tinder, you can link your Facebook profile. There is also an option to add your SO’s email (why?) and you can choose to have only platonic matches. You can also link your Spotify profile (that’s fine, I guess) and, get this, your LinkedIn profile. I can see someone at Harvard trying to be clever in an ironic (but pretending to be unironic, so it’s even more ironic) way. Seriously? What are you guys doing up there in Boston?

My profile preview

Here is what your profile can look like after you answer everything they ask you:

In addition to all the required fields, I also entered a description. To leave that blank would be like leaving a Tinder bio blank: evidence that you’re a psychopath. I didn’t link my Spotify or LinkedIn (insert eye roll) accounts, but I did connect my Facebook. You can’t add a profile picture unless you link your Facebook (you can’t just upload a picture not through Facebook), so they’re probably just trying to steal all your information. Apparently, they will play Cupid and find me at least three matches based on this, but seeing as the majority of 600 Columbia students who signed up are female and I’m a female looking for a male, I don’t know how that’s going to work.

The email I received when I registered

According to Datamatch, an advanced computer algorithm will be the matchmaker. I don’t like this because not only does the user not have an element of autonomy and choice as one does with dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, etc., but it’s also impersonal. As you will see below, the questions in the school-specific survey are mostly useless. If you were to take these questions and ask them to someone in person, you wouldn’t be able to really learn anything substantial about them from it. I don’t know what sort of “advanced computer algorithm” these Harvard goons are using, but no computer algorithm, however advanced (or however creepy!) is going to find me a good match based on these questions. I think Jester is more to blame for this than Datamatch though; since they’re school-specific questions, I’m assuming Jester staffers wrote the Columbia survey.

Here are some of the highlights from the aforementioned survey:

This could be a legitimate question, but the answer options are too niche and tryhard. Why are they bringing prom into this? It is neither helpful for finding a last-minute Valentine nor funny. What is a karate dojo? Am I just out of the loop? Is this funny for everyone else except me? I’m personally a fan of the third option. Probably the only funny option out of the five. (It’s not helpful for getting to know a person in any way, though. You could argue that it says something about a person for them to choose this option, but I doubt that a psychological analysis of that level of complexity is going on here.) The next one is really the only legitimate “date” option. I see them trying to be funny and sweet, but it’s just too long and too detailed. They overdid it. They should have just said, “A romantic dinner followed by a stroll on the beach” or something. The last one is the “fuckboy” type option they have on most of their questions.

This was the only survey question I genuinely liked. However, I do want to point out this theme of constant negativity visible already in these two questions. This question on its own being five negative options is fine, but this brand of tryhard, sardonic, self-deprecating humor is a running theme throughout the entire website and I am not a fan. So edgy. Gold star for you, Datamatch (sarcastic one for the negativity, genuine one for this specific question).

Here we go again with this tryhard edginess. The three-letter question is at stark odds with the two annoyingly long options, and also pointless. The first one is all right. That’s the one I picked. It’s relatable and not too long. The second one is just not trying at all. I don’t know if that’s worse than trying too much. Both are bad. The third, fourth, and fifth options try to be memes. The third and fourth are too long, and the fifth is too cliché and immature. Above all, none of these options is representative of anyone’s personality. I picked the first one, but I could very well have picked the fifth one and it would make no difference. Like I mentioned above, that’s another running theme along with the unfunny sardonic humor; these questions are useless.

Oh, my God. More finance bro and fuckboy references and negativity. They attempt to use gender-neutral language in a way that makes this so cringeworthy and unfunny. I’m not condemning the attempt itself, but it’s so badly worded. Instead of saying “A meme lord/lady,” they could have said “Someone with BSM clout” or something. Instead of “A Goldman bro/babe,” they could have said “A Goldman sellout.” Also, “Someone hilarious (like a Jester staff writer)”? It’s obvious that this is supposed to be the kind of thing where they compliment themselves in a “ba-dum-tss” ironic way that in turn makes the statement actually true. In other words, they call themselves funny, insinuating that they’re not actually funny, but this self-deprecation is supposed to be funny, coming full circle to mean that they actually think they’re funny. (They’re not.)

An anonymous frat boy’s assessment of this question: “What are these options? They’re horrible! Why do they not have an option for coffee with milk and no sugar? That’s how I drink my coffee because I want the protein! Who drinks coffee with sugar? Coffee is supposed to taste bad! Milk with coffee I understand, right? But black with sugar? Like what? *realizes the first option said “black no sugar, not black with sugar* That’s some bullshit. Okay, it still implies that some people like it black with sugar.”

The question is legitimate, the answers are not. At least make them real options, for heaven’s sake. The fact that the answers are these dumb fake menu items designed to make fun of JJ’s food renders this question completely useless. “Fat sandwich – A medium-sized block of cow fat”? Really? I cringed and wretched simultaneously when I read that.

This could be a semi-funny personality quiz type question, but these options are just bad. The first two would be fine but I don’t know what steps by Butler ramps they supposedly/actually fixed. Am I missing something? I thought those steps were gone now, replaced by two permanent gently sloping ramps. And which ones in the middle of the lawns? What are they talking about? The ones in Hamilton at exactly 2:51 pm? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know of any classes that end at 2:50 pm. That one would have been funny if it said 2:26 pm or something. The third one is good. I picked that one.

Stupid ass question, stupid ass answers. No more details necessary. Although I will give it to them that the fourth option almost makes up for how stupid this question is.

My verdict is that you should all just stick to Tinder and/or give up on love.

Some more serious feedback for Datamatch is that they should just make the site straightforward and simple instead of trying to incorporate cutesy flairs in every clause of every sentence. Maybe outsource the writing parts to a humanities major. Providing an element of choice to the users would also be better than a computer algorithm unilaterally matchmaking for them. That might be just a personal thing, though; this was created by the Harvard Computer Society, so I’m guessing that may defeat the purpose.

Datamatch’s crucial mistake was partnering with Jester Humor Magazine to spread this to Columbia. If they heard that our readership is “off-the-charts horny,” wouldn’t we be a better (and funnier) option? We would have made a much better survey, for one, that is a lot more Columbia-related and that more effectively reveal a user’s personality.

Jester and Datamatch did a bad job at marketing it to Columbia students as well. Over 600 people might sound like a lot, but CC, SEAS, and GS have almost 9,000 students. It wasn’t clear from the email whether Barnard was included in this figure of 600, but that adds about 2,500 more people to the total undergraduate population in MoHi. If Barnard was included, only 5% of the total population registered. A dating app such as this one needs a large user base to succeed, and when only 5% of the total population here registered on Datamatch, the majority of whom are women, as a straight woman on this campus, I might as well just go to Mel’s singles’ pong game and hit on a random guy instead.

Do keep in mind though that this is all content-related critique. I know nothing about computer science and I’m sure their coding and algorithm are excellent and brilliant. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Computer Cupid via

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  • friend of friend’s parent says:

    @friend of friend’s parent is “tryhard” an adjective the kids are using these days? and does “wya? wyd?” mean “where you at? what you doing?” asking for a friend’s parent, thanks.

    1. Zack Abrams says:

      @Zack Abrams yes, yes, and yes

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Thank you!

  • NotInJester says:

    @NotInJester “Datamatch’s crucial mistake was partnering with Jester Humor Magazine to spread this to Columbia.”

    Of all the institutions with the credibility to mock a past-their-prime-formerly-great Columbia student publication, Bwog is not among them. This is like Woody Allen criticizing #MeToo. Joseph Pulitzer’s undead corpse has more editorial gravitas than your gang of coke-addled degenerate illiterates

    1. NotinBwog says:

      @NotinBwog NotinJester doth protest too much, methinks.

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