Are fitness trackers the future of online dating?

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By Alex Hughes
@alexhugh3s
Apr 16, 2017,  11:11 AM

There are many devices out there that are used to track your daily data – steps in a day, sleep patterns, heart rate, food intake, etc. But what if you could use that data in your dating life and find a possible love match through it?

This may just become a reality as researchers at Newcastle University in the UK have developed a method similar to speed dating called Metadating, which uses the information gathered by personal devices to help people make connections with one another.

Metadating started as an experiment conducted by the researchers to see what would happen if they took away the carefully constructed online dating profiles and over-edited selfies, and just left the speed daters with data gathered by their phones and computers.

The team recruited speed daters on social media and throughout the campus and gave the participants a form to fill out a week before, asking them to fill out questions such as their shoe sizes, walking pace, the farthest they have travelled from home, and their heart rate while filling out the form. It also asked standard questions such as favourite movies, books, music, and even left blank spaces at the end for the participants to fill out whatever data they wanted.

The experiment consisted of seven men and four women, all of whom started the night by swapping data sheets with one another and rotating partners after 4 minutes.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Chris Eldsen, who ran the experiment, said that as we as a society collect more and more data about ourselves, the team was interested in the future social life of data.

“The profiles made data a ticket to talk. They helped couples start conversations. Rather than analyzing their data, they performed it by talking about it with each other. And despite the fact this was an unusual set-up, the group had no problem finding things to chat about,” Eldsen said.

Eldsen also said that most of the information people normally track about themselves is focused on making them fitter, happier or more productive, whereas metadating is much more mechanical.

“What people can actually do with their data is sometimes quite limited,” he said.

“But what our study showed is that you can be creative with data. You can play around with the way you present it and use it to relate to other people.”

Impact (ONLY use the 'Paste From Word' button to safely copy and paste text from a Word doc) 

Metadating is something that will become a big part of dating in the future. It will allow people to feel like they have control and creativity with the data they are producing and could offer a new way to meet a love match.

Like most other dating websites, it uses a data-driven algorithm to match potential love connections, so it makes sense that one day there will one day be a website that matches the data from your self-tracking personal devices with others who have similar data and might be a good match.

Public Release Date: 
2018
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