vegetarian beats zombieThe online dating site OKCupid, which had me at "hello, here's how our match algorithm works," has been publishing troves of great stats about self-presentation and response rates. In their latest analysis of the impact of words in conversational overtures, they find that netspeak (ur, u, luv) and physical compliments (sexy, hot, cutie) are a big FAIL. And that niche interests (like "zombie" and "vegetarian") increase reply rates. Their presentation of the results is even great (but guys, where are the error bars? What's a stats nerd to think?):
It's remarkably similar to the research I did the first couple of years in grad school, using machine learning to identify phrases that predict whether a forum message will get a response. In controlled field experiments we found that saying things like "I've been lurking here" or "I've been following this thread" roughly doubled reply rates. Seriously. (PDF of our paper on rhetorical strategies). But their data set is waaay juicier.