About 21Pictures, the dating website that matches people through their pictures.
Anyone who's tried online dating knows that it can be fun if you're after a hook-up, but pretty unsatisfying if you're looking for something more meaningful. We're crowdfunding an app via Kickstarter that uses insights from psychology to make online dating a whole lot easier for relationship-seekers. Feel free to back us here!
One of the important ways in which 21Pictures differs from other dating sites is that you get to suss people out by looking at pictures of their lives, rather than by analysing written self-descriptions or lists of attributes. The aim is to encourage people to make intuitive judgements about who they might want to date, similar to how we do it in the "real" world.
Sometimes, though, intuitive judgements can lead us astray. Everyone sees the world through the lens of their own experiences and beliefs, and it’s easy to think that we've "got" someone based on a few scraps of information, such as how they look. We're great at fitting people into boxes. Often we get it right. But not always.
At our recent launch party at Lights of Soho, we conducted a social experiment to see whether people of similar “types” were more likely to appeal to each other, or find each other attractive. This was not, we’re happy to admit, in the tradition of rigorous science. The aim was to illustrate – metaphorically – how intuitive choices and other psychological forces guide our social decision-making, which is something we think about a great deal at 21Pictures.
Pictures carry a lot of subtle information that is hard to express in words: that's one of the basic ideas behind 21Pictures. But how much can pictures really tell us about someone?
To test that out, we asked one of our colleagues here at 21P HQ (Sam) to choose six photos that sum him up in some way. We then asked another colleague (Arianna) to comment on Sam's images and describe what each one says about him. This was a blind "date": even though they know each other, Arianna didn't realise she was looking at Sam's pictures, since none of them show his face.
Scroll down to see what happened, including Sam's reaction to Arianna's discerning analysis. You'll be glad to know they're still friends.
You're probably thinking, not another dating site! But if you sign up and have a look around, hopefully you'll notice that this one feels different. Instead of words, you describe yourself entirely in pictures – not just a few headshots, but pictures that give people a sense of what you're like. Imagine a noticeboard of your life and you're not far off.