Love in the Age of Social Media and Big Data


As I was searching for Valentine’s Day’s ideas earlier this week, I came across this fun YouTube clip on how a guy can use all kinds of social media platforms to create a perfect last-minute V-day experience for his girlfriend. The video seamlessly aggregated a dozen of social media platforms that one can turn to in order to show affection, collect information, purchase gifts, make reservations, etc. The video was posted four years ago, so one can only imagine how much more can be done today with the help of a new generation of social apps like Pinterest and Snapchat.

However, although the guy in the video was able to create a fantastic experience for his girlfriend with the help of social media, his love for her was not real, which consequently led to the sad ending. So how can one find true love in the age of social media and big data? In this Ted talk, digital strategy specialist Amy Webb shared how she used algorithms to find her true love. But note, the algorithms that led Amy to her Prince Charming were not the ones used by popular online dating websites (which oftentimes make unsatisfactory correlations), but were rather algorithms that she created herself.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 11.00.52 PMKind of along the same line, mathematician Hannah Fry took a step back and showed us how mathematics can help us understand love. Like most things in this world, there are patterns in love that can be recognized. With the help of big data, she proved the best strategy to win at online dating, and pinpointed the ideal time for an individual to settle down. But of course, these “theories” were more like suggestions, and not exactly foolproof. However, what I did find insightful was the third mathematical tip in her talk – the equation that shows what causes the “spiral of negativity” – killer of a healthy relationship. The key takeaway is, couples that don’t let things go, that communicate constantly, that allow room for each other to vent will more likely to stay together till the end.

So I guess the age of social media and big data has, to some extent, made our love lives easier. But when it comes to cultivating and maintaining the relationships with our loved ones, real human connection still wins over anything.

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One Response to Love in the Age of Social Media and Big Data

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great, great post. Very watchable and insightful. Wow. Nice job, Sabrina.

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