Last night the group researching online dating sites did an excellent job taking us through that world. In particular, they referenced an early computer dating service started by three Harvard graduates in the mid-1960s called Operation Match. To quote the 1965 Crimson Tide article about the service:
They were aware that computers had been used to match people at special mixers and they knew that some companies in Europe were making a sizable profit from arranging compatible marriages through various technological means. “But what we wanted was something more permanent than a mixer, and more fun than a marriage bureau,” a member of the group recalls.
In the course of the conversation, the idea of a computerized datefinding service evolved. The idea excited Tarr, and with the help of Morrill, he went out to see what might be done about it. Dean Munro, a few lawyers and certain technicians at a computer firm all assured Tarr that the idea was feasible.
Using computer-generated data to connect people is not necessarily new, as this group pointed out, but the web brought it to a another level. During the course of their presentation they shared this 2009 or 2010 infographic about the online dating industry that has a ton of interesting facts. For example, 40 million people in the U.S. use online dating annually. That number in China is 140 million people. EHarmony claims 236 members are married each day. Etc.
The group is working on a timeline that will link back to their blog posts and provide a distributed history of online dating as their final project. Lauren Brumfield and Eun Jung Kim have been doing a fine job blogging their research thus far, and I am really enjoying their findings. Lauren even kicked off her research with a shout out to Meg Ryan in the 1998 film You’ve Got Mail. Which got me thinking during class last night, is there a top ten list of films with an online dating theme? Of course there is, this is the web after all!
So, here they are copied directly from this post on Yahoo!.
And no matter if you’re a fan of online dating or the whole thing creeps you out, these 10 films are sure to entertain.
- Because I Said So: Diane Keaton plays Mandy Moore’s overbearing mother who is terrified her daughter will never have a healthy relationship. Diane realizes she might just be looking for some love and checks things out online. What to Take Away: It’s never too late to find love.
- Catfish: This startling movie is under the radar, but forces us to ask some very serious questions. It’s a documentary based on a NY boy’s online relationship with a beautiful girl who lives on a Michigan farm. What to Take Away: Ask yourself how well you really know someone you meet online. How much stock can you put in a relationship that takes place solely through technology?
- Eurotrip: In this goofy and screwball comedy, a group of friends graduate from high school and take the ultimate overseas adventure to meet up with a gorgeous German girl he meets online. What to Take Away: Sometimes going the distance and being spontaneous is totally worth it.
- Hard Candy: Ellen Page is a girl on a serious mission in this crazy thriller. After she develops a relationship with a dude she believes to be a pedophile, she attempts to bring him down. What to Take Away: Things are not always what they appear to be.
- Napoleon Dynamite: It’s not Napoleon who finds love online. It’s his awesome brother Kipp who finds love online with LaFawnduh Lucas, who travels by bus to meet Kipp in person. What to Take Away: Everyone can find love. And I mean everyone.
- LOL: Whether it’s through text, email, or online dating, this movie is a strangely accurate portrayal of the role technology plays in our relationships. What to Take Away: How much do you really depend on technology instead of face-to-face interaction
- Must Love Dogs: After her sister puts her profile on PerfectMatch.com, Diane Lane goes on some outrageous dates before meeting someone great, who must love dogs, like John Cusack. What to Take Away: Despite the loads of crazy dates you may go on, it’s important to stick it out and keep trying.
- Sex Drive: Josh Zuckerman plays a shy 18-year-old virgin who steals his brother’s car and goes on a cross-country trip with his two best friends in order to hook up with a girl he meets online. What to Take Away: Sometimes you need to go the distance to appreciate what’s been in front of you all along.
- The Lionshare: After meeting on OkCupid, Matt and Jane decide to meet in person. After their first date, Jane invites Matty to her house and to her favorite BitTorrent site, The Lionshare. What to Take Away: All first dates may be a tad awkward, but you can’t push a true connection.
- You’ve Got Mail: The quintessential online dating movie. This one dates back all the way to 1998. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet in an AOL chat room and the rest is history. If you’re looking for an easy, breezy, and sweet romantic comedy, check this one out immediately. What to Take Away: Don’t judge a book by its cover – or reputation!
What’s not to love about the internet? If you will it, it is no dream!
Computer dating was a key plot point in the 1992 Robert Redford vehicle Sneakers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakers_(1992_film)). I guess the take-away is that catfishing is as old as the Web. The NSA also played a significant role, although I’m not sure if that’s significant of anything.
I have to return to those early 90s films like Sneakers, The Net, Hackers, etc. It would make for a great retro ilm bill for the local art theater here in Fredericskburg we’ll enver have 🙁
The film on this list I am dying to see is the low-budget film LOL from 2006 (not to be confused with the Miley Cyrus film from 2012). It seems to be a pretty honest look at how “kids these days” are mediating their relationships more generally.
Pingback: Internet as Utility | bavatuesdays
Scotty doesn’t know that Fiona and me blank blank every Sunday. Online dating and classifieds are too sketchy. For one everybody is trying to Catfish people, so that right there add a whole new dynamic to online dating.