OkCupid: Delivering Substance over Selfies
Cultural shifts such as urbanization, individualism and equality of all sexes have contributed to several changes in the Indian society. A major change is how urban Indian millennials approach their personal lives and relationships. As soon as a child enters puberty followed by adulthood, it’s a common sense of loneliness that he/she goes through. Parents and school friends remain by their side and are an important part of life only till the threshold of adulthood is reached. A sense of attraction for the opposite sex (same sex in case of LGBTQ) is experienced but cannot be shared with anyone given the privacy and space which one needs. This is the time when the individual feels a need for having someone special with whom he/she can meet, spend quality time & share personal things. This need is satisfied by Dating. With increasing acceptance and prevalence of dating, Indians are seeking to take control of their relationships and make their own choices with confidence. Women are also more forthright about their desires, choices and expectations from a partner, seeking to go beyond shallow or arbitrary factors such as physical appearance or location and find someone with emotional and intellectual compatibility.
Let’s get back to 2014, When I entered adulthood, I somehow realized that Yes, there was actually a need to have someone whom I can date and hang-out with. Now the question was, How to Find That Someone? What was more important was the fact to find someone who was actually compatible with me. Likes and dislikes should match to some extent at least.
When I discussed this with my friend, who had shifted to USA after completing his school in Shimla, he stated laughing at me. I asked, “Abhay, did I discuss something wrong with you?”. To which he responded, “No Sushant, actually the concept of dating is very common in USA. I am sure people in Shimla might not be aware of the fact that there are various smartphone applications which can help you find the right match for a date.” He then recommended OkCupid suggesting it to be one of the best dating applications being used by people throughout the world.
Taking his suggestion seriously, I downloaded the application on my newly bought android Smartphone and created an account on it. On using this application for a couple of days, I found that it was actually a great tool for finding the right date. Just like two people meet to know each other’s likings, disliking and chalk-out compatibility before marriage, this application asked some, cool, important and at times not-so-common questions, answering which would definitely lead you to a person whom who are most compatible with. I feel happy in informing that I too have discovered four gems of my life (my best buddies) on this app.
Hence, I find it to be my duty to let you all know the features which make OkCupid a unique dating application, standing out amongst the crowd:
Right Match Just for You: Unlike other online dating applications, OkCupid makes the best use of data science to retrieve the best match for you from its huge database of profiles. Asking you thousands of questions so you can match over what matters; you can even mark how important each of those questions are to you. The questions that you answer are fun, relevant, deep, thought-provoking and quirky and form the backbone of the experience which will constantly help you match as well as get to know your match and break the ice. These questions have been specifically localized to make sure they are contextual and relevant to the Indian users. Let’s have a look at a few simple yet relevant questions which OkCupid may ask you.
Could You Just Survive on Maggi for week?
Do you believe in the power of prayer?
How important is God/religion in your life?
What is more Romantic: A Kiss in Paris or A Kiss in a tent in the woods?
Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?
Do you like discussing politics?
Should women continue to work full-time after marriage?
These questions would give a fair idea as to how relevantly and deeply this App tries to know you and present you the best match. If you answer honestly, no one can stop you from catching your match.
Rich Profiles: As a matter of fact, everyone on OkCupid answers multiple sets of questions and fills out detailed profiles so they can connect over the things that actually matter. An individual can let others know as much as he wishes others should know about him. Instead of the usual ‘hey,’ you can message someone about a specific part of their profile that you like. This makes connecting with the right person easier and quicker. OkCupid provides a vast community of prospective matches who value intelligence, intellect, knowledge and easy going in starting healthy and fruitful conversations. You can easily find urban, well-settled working professionals.
#SubstanceOverSelfies: While most other online dating apps focus on just portraying a person based on his looks, OkCupid, being a serious dating app, focuses in substance more than just selfies. Looking for a serious relationship or love, individuals don’t just run after looks but wish that the other person should possess qualities which would keep the bond intact and tough to break. The detailed profile and compatibility score helps one know the other person through his values, ethics, qualities and not appearance. It takes good amount of time and effort to create a profile answering all types of questions. This helps bringing together people with high intent & mutual respect on a single dating platform weeding out people who are not actually interested.
Data Science at work: It is actually strange for a dating app to make use of data science. Other dating apps simply show you the picture of potential date in the nearby location, allowing you to make a choice based on looks and a brief profile/bio. #OkCupid is unique in a way that it makes the best use of sophisticated complex algorithm to understand users’ personalities and preferences more deeply, allowing the algorithm to then take over and suggest suitable matches. OkCupid does this with an intentionally time-intensive sign-up process with several questions to contextualize potential matches better, while also giving more data that helps the algorithms do better. This algorithm is not just simply based on random parameters like location but on relevant questions matching compatibility. Ever evolving technology dominates the world today. #OkCupid is the best example of how technologies can facilitate smoothness not just in daily life but creating bonds and relations too.
It’s Your Life: Normally while finding a match, your immediate environment, friends, family, society and peer pressure have a major role to play. Whereas using OkCupid to find a match for yourself, it’s you and only you who have to make a choice. It’s your choice, set of values, ethics, interests, religious thoughts, lifestyle and thinking process that matters. Women are mostly in a dilemma to identify what is good for them? What could be their perfect match? This app helps know almost everything they want to know about their prospective match.
Mutual Respect as a key value: Have you ever come across a dating app which asks you to take a Member Pledge for following dating etiquettes? Yes, you read it right. OkCupid is the first and only dating app which mandates all its users to take a pledge to be respectful to foster a community of respect and kindness for all users regardless of gender, orientation or identity, before they start interacting with other community members. They must first agree not to send any harassing or unwanted, sexually explicit messages. The members are urged to act courteously and kindly.
Safety and Privacy: Using a dating app, safety and privacy are the two key parameters which always remain in a user’s mind. There is a provision of hiding your profile from someone whom you had liked or messaged earlier. You can even block unwanted profiles. It’s all up to you, what amount of personal information you wish to share with the community. It’s great to know that OkCupid has a dedicated robust moderation team that reviews all flagged users and automated flags regularly.
Inclusiveness: Last but not the least, the most important feature of OkCupid is its diverse, inclusive environment where people can be themselves and tell their stories authentically. No caste, creed, gender, religion or sexual orientation barriers are allowed to reduce the charm of dating someone matching your interests. It offers a total of 20 sexual orientations and 12 gender identities giving every individual (equal by birth) a right to use the pronoun of their choice. It is really appreciable that Indian community to has an app, like this, in a country which recently decriminalized gay sex as a punishable offence, scrapping Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code, upholding that everyone is equal before law.
As I conclude, I would like all dating enthusiasts to know that though OkCupid, as dating app, has been in the Indian market for several years now, recently OkCupid has started focusing actively on India. A new, refreshed product experience has been tweaked to increase the app relevance to Indian users. OkCupid comes out to be the best platform to help Indian youth find serious and meaningful relationships. The way this app identifying the real person from deep within with the help of questions, is really remarkable. Moreover, every individual possesses substance not just a selfie. The app is ideal for those who are looking for serious and long-term relationships, are aware of their likes and the qualities which they want their partner to possess. It’s not a matrimonial app or a hang-out app, it’s purely a dating app where one can find a friend, a lover of a partner who can end up being one’s soul mate for life.