odds

Thursday night already.  Early this week I said I was trapped in amber.  More like quicksand.  Time is fickle; my perception of it changes depending on the viewing angle.

Man the wind is really whipping the rain into the windowglass.  It’s cold out too.  Walking to the car after the gym reminded me of when I was a kid and I had a fever.   My mom used to bring me a damp washcloth and I’d fold it in perfect thirds and lay it across my forehead and eyes.  The coolness felt so good.  After physics brought it slowly to match room temperature I’d hold it by the corner and spin it around in violent circles for thirty seconds or so to get it ice-cold again.  That was me tonight walking.  Sweat-soaked like that damp rag and wind-whipped into iciness.  Dang it was chilly.

Let’s skip ahead and write, shall we?

People probably know I love data. Well, I love organized data. Data by itself is, ostensibly, crap. Organized data can tell stories or support facts or win and lose arguments. Statistics. It’s all about statistics.  In one manner or another I’ve written about statistics again and again and again and again and again and again.  Wanna know how important statistics are?  Did you know that the magnitude of computations required to launch an orbiting satellite is about equal to what McDonald’s does in determining how to advertise a new hamburger? OK, I’ll admit I made that last bit up. But it’s OK because 57% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Certainly it would be ignorant to downplay the role of statistics in our lives, they run everything from the stock market to the insurance industry to how much the stamp you use mail a postcard is going to cost you.

I mention my statistics fetish as a lead-in to a link I wanted to share. I don’t do a lot of link-sharing on the blog much anymore. I used to. Back in the early days I would share links all the time. Now I think I’ve gotten somewhat pretentious and I aim to fill an entry with some sort of introspection or interesting novel content. There’s nothing wrong with linking though, I don’t look down on it or anything, I guess the way I treat the blog as an “outlet” has changed. Or I’ve perceived my audience to have changed (those I know about and can safely “count” as somewhat regular readership). Uh-oh I’m writing a paragraph about nothing again. I completely blame the last book I read. A good 50% of it was all internal-monologue asides to the story arc. I better get to the point here…

Here’s a really interesting statistics-filled post on the internet dating site OkCupid’s official blog.

When I was “dating,” which was a very small period in my life, online dating sites weren’t around. I’ve never needed to use one. I don’t have anything against them, I suppose it’s as valid a way to whittle the prospects as any. Heck perhaps it’s even a smarter-than-average way if “average” means going to the bar every Friday and Saturday night. It’s just that since I’ve been with the same woman now for something like seventeen years (yes, really) I’ve never had the opportunity to have to choose to either use, or not, a site like OkCupid. That being the case I’ve never even thought about what a labor it must be to make some of the seemingly simple decisions around how to “market” yourself to a potential mate online.

But think about it… it’s a non-trivial thing. In my mind I liken it somewhat to writing a resume or an annual “self review” at work. Here I have a single sheet of paper and on it I am supposed to give an accurate representation of myself. My skills, my accomplishments, my attitude, my ethic, etc. All of this must be distilled into a very limited amount of space. Same with an online dating profile I’d assume. Here I have this little plot of internet to communicate who I am, what I’m looking for, and why you should be interested in me. Stopping to consider it for a minute I can see why there might be fair amount of apprehension in putting oneself out there.

So back to the OkCupid blog. What a great article! If you didn’t click and read it yet, it’s just talking about the various ways a person’s dating profile picture impacts how “successful” their online dating “return rate” is. They do a great job digging the meaningful and interesting nuggets out of what is likely a mountain of data. Some of the charts are really insightful, and could just as easily (I bet) be applied to how “successful” folks are on any kind of social-media website.  I’ll tell you, when I decide to make the move into the fast-paced world of online social interaction I’m gonna take me one humdinger of a profile picture.

Goodnight.


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