OkCupid and Twitter Users: Sabotaaaaage?

Alright, I know primarily entertainment-oriented, free internet dating sites don't stand alongside Harvard and Yale as strongholds of hard-hitting, accurate, valid research, but a few weeks back OkCupid, that fun repository of all sorts of personal information that I hope they aren't selling to The Man for parts, had an ad running: "Don't Date a Tweeter!"

Being a member of this much-maligned collective, I found my short-lived attention piqued. Why, pray tell?  Well, as it happens, according to this article:

"Just as with their 140-character musings, Twitter users seem to end up in relationships that are bite-size. 'Twitter users have shorter relationships,' says Christian Rudder, the site's cofounder and editorial director. 'How much shorter? Maybe not a lot... but the difference is measurable and consistent.' "


So, let's take a quick look at this with a sampling of nice, round ages. Approximating as close to exactly as possible with this line graph, if you're 20, your relationship lasts 10 months if you tweet, 10.5 if you don't. If you're 30, it lasts 13.5 months if you tweet, 14 if you don't. If you're 40, it lasts 15.8 months if you tweet, 15.9 if you don't. At 50, it's 15.5 Tweeters, to about 16.3 non-Tweeter months. "People who used Twitter frequently, as you'll see, consistently had relationships that were 5-10 percent shorter than those who didn't use the social-networking site," the article continues.

Not to get all hardcore, but if you know anything about statistics, p-values of .05 are typically not considered significant (not that any were given, besides the "percent shorter" info above). Even ignoring that, is two to four weeks a common-sensically significant amount of time over a relationship that lasts 10 to 16 months? Would you call a year-long relationship "bite size?" Do Tweeters have short attention spans, or do they just not like to drag unsuccessful endeavors out? I think the latter is arguable.

Oh, and if you're on Twitter, you can lodge a 140-character complaint to @OkCupid. On Twitter.



"Scheming on a thing that's a mirage..." -- Mike D, MCA, Ad-Rock


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