I kicked off my birth-week yesterday, and though I’m tempted to dole out the usual whine-and-cheese about inching closer to my success deadline (age 30) without being any closer to the actual success, I’ve decided to focus on the positive stuff instead.
I’m referring here to being lonely, of course, and how I’m using my current state of emotional unrest to make the world a better place for you, dear Reader.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll probably have noticed quite a bit of chatter over the past 10 days regarding a new web toy called Everyone.isLone.ly. The idea was borne out of an essay I wrote earlier in the year about finding your soul mate online, developed further by a talk I gave during a PWDO mini-conference last month, and finally solidified as an actual product concept over lunch at a small Thai resto in the heart of the Ortigas CBD.
From the home page blurb:
Are you really compatible with your friends? Jot down your criteria on IsLone.ly and either rate your friends, or have them rate themselves against your list. Then ask them to create their own personal lists of criteria and compare your ratings!
I’m the kind of person who tends to analyze situations to the point of excess. When it comes to people and relationships, I make lists, elaborate plans and conduct lengthy post-game introspections when things go awry. It’s not due to an aversion to spontaneity that I do this though; I just find that I get more enjoyment out of life when I take the time to appreciate and think about every single detail of it.
What I’ve noticed though, is that not a lot of people are like that. I’m not certain whether it’s primarily a matter of time or inclination. When asked the question, “What do you look for in a partner?” the usual responses are vague and indeterminate. “Someone who’s smart” or “rich” or “has a nice ass” are pretty common answers, but without any real qualifiers as to what constitutes “smart” or “rich”. (A “nice” ass is a pretty relative condition as well, but at least it’s localized to a small, oft-viewed area.) When pressed, a lot of people will often admit that they hadn’t really thought about it too much. To this, I will haughtily reply, “You mean, you didn’t think about it enough.”
Everyone.isLone.ly is a toy for making these lists. Everyone maintains a unique set of criteria for potential partners, and on isLone.ly this list is made public. Each criterion is weighted, since not all requirements are as important or mandatory as others. For example, “personal hygiene” is probably at least 4 or 5 times more important than say, “a decent DVD collection.”
People then come in and rate themselves according to the criteria you defined, and if you like, you can rate yourselves according to their criteria as well. We thin-slice the concept of “compatibility” by looking at how high two people’s mutual ratings are.
This system isn’t perfect of course, and as of this writing, I’m still working out a number of conceptual as well as technical issues. From the brief 10 days people have been using the app, feedback has been very positive though. We’ve managed to pump out over 20,000 pageviews in under 2 weeks of operations, with nothing but mentions from a handful of friends buoying us along.
There’s an entertainment angle to this whole idea as well: a few days ago we started putting together fictitious accounts based on pop culture characters, and the response has been very encouraging. Even people like Edward Cullen, Dr. Manhattan, Chuck Norris and Greg House, M.D. can be lonely apparently, and for a lot of fans, there’s a fairly pronounced interest in finding out how compatible they are with their favorite celebrities.
So check us out and let me know what you all think. I’m at Luis.isLone.ly if you want to find out how compatible we are ;)