Bloomberg Businessweek have interviewed co-founder of OkCupid, Christian Rudder, who is promoting his new book, Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking).
The book is a continuation of the data-driven insights on relationships and society Rudder wrote for popular blog OkTrends, which launched in 2009.
Rudder shut the well-liked, and subsequently-imitated, blog in 2011, saving the data insights for his new book.
This year, he resurrected the blog with a controversial post, entitled “We Experiment On Human Beings”, which detailed how OkCupid had performed a series on tests on their users, including purposefully giving them bad matches.
The post got a huge amount of press attention, coming after Facebook admitted they influenced users emotions by tinkering with timeline algorithms, and spawned a number of think pieces and commentaries about the moral issues of such user experiments.
In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Rudder offered an explanation of his blog post, and why such experiments are so important:
“Websites are amassing information that holds enormous social potential. The data our users generate helps companies improve their sites and make money; that’s a story that most people know. But that same data could also unlock new ways of understanding society and new kinds of science.”
Bloomberg reporter Claire Suddath meets Rudder to chat about his new book, which charts the dating behaviour of OkCupid users in the same humorous and data-driven style as the OkTrends blog.
Dataclysm will be released on 9th September.