If you’re not yet aware, Facebook recently added a paid feature for its members to be able to send messages to strangers. Upon the announcement of this new feature, many thought the online dating space was in for a very big shake-up and that online dating sites could face extinction.
This prediction was made before users even had a chance to use this new Facebook functionality. After a couple of months in of the Facebook Graph search launch, experts began to question the original predictions of any threat to online dating.
Do the matching algorithms of Facebook compared to dating sites like eharmony and okcupid meet the criteria’s of regular single people? I did some of my own research and it’s obvious that Facebook Graph Search seemed to be lacking in depth compared to the major dating websites.
The ability for Facebook to match people up using deep matching algorithms simply was not there. My initial opinion of the search graph is that there is 1 or 2 more steps still needed. The search capabilities seemed rather simplistic and dated and is still based upon user-generated searches and data and not based upon personality types or other personal preferences.
To me, it seems like Facebook is trying to introduce things it simply is not designed to do. So what happens if you do a few searches and find another Facebook member you like the look of – a 32 year old guy from Spring Hill who likes to play tennis. You then pay a dollar to send this guy a message and see what happens? To me, it just feels a bit un-Facebook-like.
Dating websites and social networking services can be a tremendous way to interact. But they are, in theory, totally different animals. When either of these mediums attempt to become the other, loyal users could feel betrayed. With Facebook starting to loosen its policies and presenting their members and marketers with options to contact random people, is destined to harm the reputation and integrity of its trusted brand.
Here’s a valid point shared by founder of Let’s Date, Sean Suhl. “I imagine most people would feel a bit weird being contacted by a friend or friend of a friend on a romantic level via Facebook. Most people are not on Facebook to date so it makes things awkward if people start getting hit-on instead of the usual friend requests and content sharing.”
The major difference when it comes to dating on Facebook and dating on a dating site is quite simple. People join Facebook to socialise with their friends. People join dating sites to date strangers.
Even still, the ironic part about this is that Facebook introduces more couples who become romantically involved than any online dating site in the world. So whether Facebook likes it or not, it is still the biggest online dating website in the world – even though it’s not a dating site.
The reason why Facebook is the world’s biggest dating site (but really isn’t a dating site) is because it’s a casual social website that allows people to use it anyway they choose. With more than a billion active users, it’s no wonder that so many of these conversations eventuate into relationships.
At the risk of alienating the vast Facebook population, Facebook itself doesn’t want to be labeled a dating site. It’s a given that anyone can use it as a useful dating tool without having to brand itself as such.