Archive for September, 2006

I came perilously close to breaking my corset

laughing at this

yay Brian!

This very depressing article from the Wall St. Journal has one bright spot — Brian! I don’t love his site enough to wear his T-shirt, but I am rooting for him to find tru luv as he bucks this idiotic system.

The shift to rewarding generic popularity is the worst thing that’s happened to online dating in the last couple years. As Sarah Schoomer, seemingly smart enough not to get all sorority-girl rushing Engage.com, admits, she found herself writing stuff just to be “provocative.” What an unwinnable, time-wasting game.

And since when do you have to write back everyone who responds to your profile? I get it when they don’t write back, I don’t need a stranger telling me what he didn’t like about my profile! Unless my picture has deadly spinach in its teeth, that I want to know.

but did they get dates?

My “art about online dating” category has been sorely underused in this blog. But suddenly what to my copyediting (at Time Out) eyes should appear but two (2) gallery shows about online dating!

Kashya Hildebrand Gallery
531 W 25th St between Tenth and Eleventh Aves (212-366-5757). Tue–Sat 11am–6pm.
Jeffrey Aaronson, “Maybe It’s You.” Aaronson ventured into the realm of online dating to find not one perfect cyber-match but many: Choosing from personals blurbs that intrigued him, he tracked down their creators and arrived at some compatible portrait subjects. Through Oct 7.

John Miller, “Total Transparency.” When Miller logged on to web sites like Lavalife.com and Womanline.com, his motivations were all business. The artist was fishing for data to incorporate into these photographic works that probe the social inner-workings of cyberspace dating. Sat 30–Nov 4

Here’s John Miller’s info. Maybe I’ll go to his opening. Not to cruise him, though; not only is he “all business,” but I’d have trouble with anyone who finds fruit more “grotesque than excrement.” Huh?

Maybe I shouldn’t snap-judge. I mean, you could be perfectly nice and be horrified by oranges, right? Maybe a jello trauma as a kid. And his fruit-and-miniature-town pie looks cute as can be.

be warned (NSFW)

and maybe spaded/neutered while you’re at it. If I were these jerks [Not Safe For Work], I’d d be very nervous about pissing off all these men raring to beat, thrash, ream, whip, choke….

You Screwb

Only four days left to sign up for Hook Me Up. Once bored office workers run your life, it’s bound to get better!

cyber-cheating and privacy

I’m reluctant to link to Wired since they fired brilliant columnist Gareth Branwyn but I’m struck by how their columnist normalizes adultery. Wired’s always tended toward free-geek-love — that poly-tech link again — but she seems to assume she’s writing for more polyamorists than monos.

Seems like we could be on this cusp between people keeping their vows as vague as possible in order to give themselves cheating leeway and spelling out the rules. Also between total privacy/secrecy and more gay-rights-type openness about alternative lifestyles. With everyone gaining their right to speak their love’s name and with exhibitionist-voyeur an ever-more popular dyad, I wonder if the whole notion of sexual privacy mightn’t just shrivel up and be replaced by its opposite.

hey, sprezzatura, cover your ass by calling ME

“brave, brilliant and witty.” That’ll throw people off the track.

Thanks to Carolyn for this hilarious story. It’s like the scene in Annie Hall where Marshall MacLuhan turns up to shush the annoying guy pontificating about him. Except Lee Siegel didn’t just fantasize, he actually conjured up his defender and biggest fan.

And here’s more.

hello, fellow lab mice!

It’s obvious that online dating is a dream opportunity for market researchers — all that personal information to add to what the commercial/governmental They already have on us from tracking our movements around the Web. But this story from the Wall Street Journal about Yahoo hiring especially schmancy economists to sift our info even finer freaks me a bit further out.

[R]esearchers are looking at the information Yahoo collects about its users’ activities. That starts with nearly every click and includes what services consumers use in what sequence and which color of buttons they click on most. The company records over 12 terabytes of data daily — the equivalent of about half the information contained in all of the books in the Library of Congress, according to some estimates.

Yahoo and other Internet companies already use some of what they know about consumers’ online habits to target Internet advertising: A user who searches for “Ford Explorer” might see an ad for a sports-utility vehicle when he looks at a news Web site….. a challenge [for the sites] is not to creep out users with blatant matches that serve as a reminder they’re being tracked, such as switching all the ads to those for credit cards if a user clicks on a card offer.

I just know if I hit the blue button enough, an SUV will appear in my food dish, but damn, my paw is getting sore.

And I also know those studying our terabytes say to the Luddite objecters, ‘Lighten up. Super-targeted advertising is simply news you can use, nothing sinister in trying to position your product as close as possible to consumer desire.’ The story even reassures us paranoid hippies that this type of research will benefit mankind:

[Yahoo Poo-bah] Mr. Fayyad recruited Prabhakar Raghavan, a former IBM Research veteran who was also wooed by Google and Microsoft, to head the push. Mr. Fayyad told Mr. Raghavan he would be disappointed if Yahoo’s effort didn’t produce a Nobel Prize.

Which Nobel prize would that be? I’m guessing not peace, or medicine, or literature. The claims to mankind-betterment seem especially silly given the example of getting people to buy SUVs or this: “Researchers also believe collating Web activity can be used to predict future events, such as box-office openings and home sales.” Only in the Wall St. Journal Church of Capitalism do manipulatable sales of movie tickets and houses count as “future events,” like an earthquake or a flood.

I also love how these Nobel scientists are using their powers to keep The Wrong Sort of Man from bothering pretty women on online dating sites.

If I get sent an ad for Das Kapital after I post this, we’ll know the terabyte-sifting is working.

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