For years, online dating sites have promised that their almighty algorithms could turn strangers into soulmates.
Just ask Mike Daisey, whose tale of Apple hiring underage workers was debunked last weekend on “This American Life.” It’s a breathtaking hour of radio, not only because Daisey is lying, but also because he is lying to himself. It’s like we’re all suffering a giant crisis of authenticity."I was serious when I said I'm just looking for friends on my profile.You're so nice, and I don't want to lead you on in any way.During the month that I used social dating apps to find new buddies, I sent countless unrequited salutations, offered up priceless New York City travel recommendations, and even gave my number to a guy who wanted to discuss first amendment rights. When I started, I believed that, with millions of people just searching for company online, I'd easily find my new bestie or at least someone down for a platonic hang.A friend finder app, after all, didn't seem too far away with Tinder for cats and other spin-off matching services debuting. Lyke Me, an app three Michigan State University students have designed to match people based on interests, is launching this fall.) On a personal level, I wanted more friends."This is a better system because it cuts through the crap. You can tell whether someone is legit." Traditional online matchmakers have served up a courtship process that looks a lot like online shopping: Users browse photos hoping to find something (or someone) they like, then choose a product (or person) to engage with offline.Both are solitary exercises that often yield an experience far different from what the picture promised, and users' inboxes are flooded with irrelevant emails for weeks afterward."Facebook technically could be the world's largest dating site.And if you look at these new players, they're taking advantage of the fact that they have this fabulous universe of people." Facebook revolutionized the web by replacing screen names with real names, and now online dating startups are following suit with features that eliminate anonymity.I loved that movie (I saw it twice), but the film came under fire for its own narrative sleights of hand.“That guy would never fall for that girl,” a friend complained to me, and maybe he had a point, but I think we will all fall for anything if we want to believe it badly enough.