Love in the Time of Algorithms

Science: Men Who Use Smiley Faces Online Get Hit On Less

That's right. #Science.

do not want. (flickr.com/katerha)

Do not want. (flickr.com/katerha)

Everyone knows it’s creepy when guys use the :) smiley face flirtatiously.

We’re not exactly sure why. It’s probably the “I’m not threatening or scary, I promise” vibe. Either way, a text or email with a :) from someone you haven’t been out with yet is sure to send you running.

It turns out we aren’t in the minority. Actual, real life science (O.K., a “study” from Zoosk.com) shows that men who use :) in their profile have a 6 percent decrease in incoming messages and 12 percent fewer responses to outgoing messages.

But confusingly, women who use it receive 60 percent more messages. Guess straight guys just can’t get enough of the :) ?

This doesn’t mean all emoticons and emojis are off limits. If a guy can deftly deploy an eggplant emoji during a text conversation to comic effect, we will probably text him back. But the smug, trying-too-hard :) usually just comes across as smarmy and manipulative.

Some other Zoosk findings:

• Despite their complaints, dudes actually love selfies. Men don’t fare as well when they post selfies, but women get 4 percent more incoming messages when they do.

• Get a dictionary. People with typos in their profiles get 13 percent fewer responses.

•  It’s smart to show proof that you don’t have cankles. Users with full-body shots as their main photos receive 203 percent more messages and are 33 percent more likely to get a response to their outgoing messages. 

• Posing with a cute dog does not negate your shitty personality. People who pose with animals get 53 percent fewer incoming messages and 12 percent fewer responses to their outgoing messages.

• Pretend you’re smart, interesting and in shape. Mentioning jogging, running, lifting weights, yoga, painting, music, drawing and reading all up your chances of getting messages from potential suitors.

• Don’t use the word “angel,” you looney tune. Male or female, you’ll get 51 percent fewer responses.

• Have a kid, but only if you’re a dude. Hot dads are in right now. Men who use the words “son,” “daughter,” “teenager,” “children,” “kids,” “single dad” or “single mom” get 7 percent more incoming messages. Women who do the same get 4 percent less. How’s that for :( ?

Follow Molly Mulshine on Twitter or via RSS. mmulshine@observer.com

Comments

  1. Glenn Hauman says:

    Reblogged this on Glenn Hauman: View From Above and commented:
    Interesting. I wonder if it’s just because people who use emoticons don’t know how to write well and come across poorly…