Facebook is the new doctor love

Written by
  • 6 years ago
  • Posted: October 30, 2013 at 1:25 am

There was this name matching task we used to do in primary and high school to know if my secret admirer was compatible with me. I can’t remember the exact formula but it went something like this:

1. You write down you exact and complete name in the order of First Name Second Name Last Name

2. Below your name, you write down the exact name of your secret admirer

3. You cancel out similar letters for each part of both names e.g. if your first name is John and her first name is Jane, Js will cancel out. I think Ns too would cancel out (I’m not sure if same letters had to appear at the same positions the way Js appear at position 1 for both cases in order to cancel out? Anyone who remembers this?).

4. You count the number of letters not cancelled and using some rule that I have also forgotten you arrive at some result. Mostly the result were numbers between 1 and 3?

5. You could end up with a result like 212 where first 2 is the result from first names, 1 is the result from second names and the last 2 is the result from the third names.

6. You then check the meaning of 212 from a table which had compatibility advice e.g. “You two are a match made in heaven; she thinks of you every single night” or “Don’t waste your time thinking about her, the idea of you two dating has never crossed her mind” etc etc.

So several years after high school (I think after campus too), while still lonely and searching yet having this big crush on a neighbor that I wished I could forget, I decided to search online if I could do the match making using same or a similar formula and I landed to some sites that offered the match-making services. One such site can be found here. Now that I’m happily married I have just decided to test and see what advice Online Doctor Love has for me and my lovely wife and below is the compatibility rating:

Love Calculator results

These are the results of the calculations by Dr. Love:

33 %

The chance of a relationship working out between [you two] is not very big, but a relationship is very well possible, if the two of you really want it to, and are prepared to make some sacrifices for it. You’ll have to spend a lot of quality time together. You must be aware of the fact that this relationship might not work out at all, no matter how much time you invest in it.

How did the site know so much about me? Apparently it’s because I’m called Washington and yap, I told The Love Calculator my wife’s name too. I wish I had such in depth wisdom and capability of reading into people’s character from mere names. I may not have a prophet’s eye but Facebook says it does.

A Facebook Employee’s Network The circle in the middle represents the Facebook user. In the lower left, one circle serves as a bridge between two more sparse clusters. That’s the user’s spouse. Backstrom and Kleinberg

The difference between Facebook and those gibberish up there is that it doesn’t compute love based on names (alone).  According to a new paper, the connection between you, your friends and your friends’ friends can be able to indicate whether your relations is similar to what The Love Calculator told me up there. Researchers by Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University and Lars Backstrom a Facebook Engineer , analyzed Facebook users who have linked to their significant others via Facebook relationship status. Those analyzed were some 1.3 million Facebook users selected at random. The selected users also had 50 to 20,000 friends (I did not know that Facebook had increased the limit of allowed Facebook friendship from 5,000 to 20,000?)

As described in PopSci,  “The researchers were able to develop an algorithm that could figure out who a Facebooker was married to 60 percent of the time based on a metric called dispersion—the degree to which a couple’s mutual friends are not connected to one another. Higher dispersion, they found, was a stronger predictor of a relationship than just the number of mutual friends two people share…When the researchers could not predict a person’s significant other via dispersion, often the couple was doomed anyway.”

The researchers explained that couples were followed up with in two months time, those that did not have high dispersion rates were 50 percent more likely to have broken up, that is, their status updates had changed from “Married, In a relationship, engaged, bla bla bla to Single”.

I guess Facebook should just go ahead and create it’s own love calculate based on their dispersion algorithm.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Odipo Riaga
Managing Editor at KachTech Analytics Ltd
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Odipo Riaga is a Technology Blogger interested in emerging tech such as VR and AR, AI, Life Extension, Exponential Biotech, Immortality, Cyborgs and many others.
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