A record 2,260 students woke up yesterday morning to a list of romantic prospects in their inboxes generated by Datamatch—a matchmaking service operated by the Harvard Computer Society—just in time for Valentine’s Day.
HCS President Carl T. Jackson ’13 said that the integration of this year’s Datamatch with Facebook, as well as a “better and funnier” survey, likely contributed to the increase in submissions this year.
The service assesses student compatibility with an “advanced” algorithm developed by HCS that processes students’ answers to the Datamatch survey.
Students who filled out the questionnaire generally received a list of around ten matches, taking into account their indicated sexual preference.
“Generally we have a lot more straight females than straight males take the survey,” Jackson said. “This year we had about 1,400 straight females versus about 900 straight males.”
Despite Datamatch’s growing popularity, many students said the program lacks the kind of legitimacy found in more expensive and well-known Internet dating sites.
“I would definitely classify it as awkward if someone were to do something with [their Datamatches],” Lauren A. Leon ’12 said.
Shannon M. Conway ’12 added that she felt it would be “ridiculous” to take the results seriously.
“I would never initiate any contact,” she said.
Jackson said Datamatch is more of a “fun thing” for HCS than a serious matchmaking service.
“We don’t know how effective it is,” he said. “It’s definitely beyond me whether it has any additional outside purposes.”
Though Datamatch did not produce immediate on-campus romance for some, many students said they plan to spend Valentine’s Day with their close friends.
After being serenaded by an a capella ensemble for a Valentine’s Day gift from her Kappa Alpha Theta sisters, Paige M. Livingston’ 12 said she planned to go see the new Justin Bieber documentary “Never Say Never.”
Others have chosen a more relaxed approach to the holiday. When asked what he planned to do for Valentine’s Day, Kyle E. Rawding’ 14 said, “Not much. I’m not really acknowledging it.”