Blogs by MidAmerica Nazarene University staff and faculty.
Crowdsource Your Dating Life
This interesting article was sent to me by a MidAmerica alum. It describes a woman who sets up a smartphone and a second device, which she uses to video stream her first dates to the internet, and pays for feedback from a crowdsourcing agency. First is the interesting sociological idea of turning over your personal life to a group of strangers. Sociologists Georg Simmel talked about the phenomenon of the role of "the stranger" in our lives. It is like the person we sit next to on an airplane, or the taxi cab driver-- we are willing to share intimate details of our lives with this person because we will never see them again, and they are not connected to our social networks.
Which brings us to the second interesting idea, crowdsourcing. This woman in the article is essentially paying for feedback from strangers, and allows them to send her instructions about what to do next on her date. This idea of crowdsourcing is taking Simmel's idea of the stranger to the next level that technology allows. We can now pay strangers to watch our lives and give us feedback.
Sociologists would say that often, a group is better able to make decisions than an individual. They have more diverse viewpoints and are usually able to see things that an individual might miss. But not many have looked at the personal aspect-- where you have to choose who you will be-- What is my identity? Me, or me + hive mind? And yet, isn't this the same idea behind online dating (which allows technology to pre select people), or parent arranged marriages? Also interesting is the idea that if we use technology long enough, we get so used to it that we find it hard to function normally when we are without it. The woman describes having to stop a date from kissing her because she "doesn't have enough information yet..." So... would you let someone else select a dating partner, or tell you what to do on a date? Do you think that letting the group direct your dating life is a benefit or a hindrance?