Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.
Once upon a not-all-that-long-ago time, this or that hard-working professional interested in striking some sparks that could possibly be fanned into the flames of full-blown romance had to shower, put on clean clothes, drive or catch a cab across town, and cram into a dimly lit bar or sweaty dance club to have a drink, look around, and think, "I should have just stayed home and watched TV in my pajamas."
Hooking up has never been easy or comfortable, going all the way back to those cave paintings discovered in the south of France that depict a prehistoric office worker paying a mariachi band to serenade the pretty receptionist at the front desk so that he can ask for her number. In the next panel, she throws a jar of styluses carved out of animal bones in his face.
At least in 2023, however, you don't have to rely on actual in-person interaction to sow the seeds of your next potentially awkward holiday family dinner. You don't have to ask a friend to find out whether he's in a relationship already, or go through that awkward dinner-at-a-restaurant first date where you find out that she don't have any of your same interests and there's not much to talk about before the waiter even takes your order.
Technology may not be the perfect solution to finding and meeting someone you really hit it off with. It does at least offer the potential, however, to streamline the process, sidestep metaphorical land mines — personality conflicts, clashing beliefs or values — and conduct a little semi-thorough pre-screening of possible love connections.
Yes, it's time for another of those occasionally somewhat serious questions from the very end of the Salary Survey that are totally optional but sometimes fun to answer. In this case, we checked in with certified IT professionals about their experience with the thriving swipe right (or left) subculture of dating apps.
Like with a lot of personal technology, most of us tend not to hear or share about positive experiences using dating apps. They undoubtedly work for some — perhaps for many, or even most — of the people who use them. What gets talked about far more frequently, however, is their blind spots, glitches, and other shortcomings.
After all, has anyone ever heard a standup comedian riff about the wonderful date they went on after meeting the other person on a dating app? (Pause to insert crickets chirping noise.) That's what we thought. So yes, we ended up putting a negative spin on our question.
Think of it this way: If you've never used a dating app, then this might provide some pointers about what to beware of. And if your digital courtship interactions have been nothing but positive, then you'll finally find out what drives everyone else crazy. Here's what we learned:
Q: The biggest problem with dating apps is:
Too many profiles that are just scammers looking to rip people off — 21.1 percent
Too hard to tell what person's actual person's actual behavior/personality is like — 16 percent
Too much phony information — 12.5 percent
Lack of adequate data security — 8 percent
Not enough profiles that align with my interests — 7 percent
Other — 2.9 percent
I have never used a dating app — 32.6 percent
It would appear that quite a lot of certified IT professionals, despite almost certainly being highly conversant with personal technology, wouldn't think of meeting (or trying to meet) someone using an app. It's a bridge too far for nearly a third of those who participated in our survey.
The biggest problem for people who do used (or have used) dating apps is one that has plagued the personal technology realm since the first e-mail account received the first message inviting the account holder to assist with an unusually complicated banking transaction: scams and scammers.
The next biggest problem is also not particularly surprising. The social media revolution has ingrained in almost everybody that, hey, I can be whoever I want behind when no one knows who I actually am. And, just like on Twitter, it's hard to tell what someone is really like just by looking at their dating profile. Which might, after all, be a pack of lies. The tendency of dating app profiles to be phonier than an AT&T store is another reason people would prefer to not engage.
Some who participated chose "Other," but we didn't just leave it at that. We invited those people to share some specifics, and here is a sampling of their replies.
"I'm already married." (Or something along these lines; many, many people responded thus.)
"I am super old and have no need."
"[Name of a specific individual]." (Many, many people made this joke. Oh, you rogues!)
"Dating apps can't foresee chemistry."
"Everything that's wrong with humanity."
"Everything about them."
"Happily married; found my spouse on a dating app."
"I, a female age 50, am very popular among men age 70 who keep telling me how young they look and bahave."
"Lack of respect for nerds."
"They make people easily disposable of, easy to scratch off and try again. It's like online shopping almost."
"Ratio of women to men is not equal."
"My wife didn't appreciate when I tried to swipe her face left during our last fight."
"No option for multiple profiles to match whatever my current mood is."
"People are straight up cray." (Another answer that came in multiple times.)
"Too many inactive profiles; if it's inactive for more than week then it shouldn't be showing up."
"Unless you are incredibly good looking, it's a waste of time. You won't get any matches."
"The things we think we desire rarely provide the satisfaction of our expectations."