REDEMPTION IS SWEET! The MySpace Shot Wins For Girls

Jan 25, 2010 • Culture, web

The folks at OKCupid have been busy these past few months data mining to help us figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to luring lovers on dating sites.

Their findings, which appeared last week on their official blog reveal all kinds of fascinating things, the most shocking of which I present to you here.

MYTH: Don’t use a phone or webcam pic on your profile.

“The rationale behind this myth seems solid: cell-phones and webcams take low-end photos,” says Christian Rudder, OKCupid’s editorial director and co-founder of the site. “When the camera’s fixed on your desktop or at the end of your arm, the context of the photo is bound to be pretty mundane; and there’s the avoidable creepiness of someone lurking in the dark, in front of the computer, snapping his own button.”

But when the team looked at the hard data — that is, the number new messages received per active month on the site for women, and new incoming messages and replies to outgoing first contacts for men — they were surprised to find that these lousy, self-shot pictures were pretty damn good.

“Perhaps what these photos lack in technological quality they make up for in intimacy,” Rudder writes. “And it’s undeniable that at their best, self-shot pics can have an approachable, casual vibe that makes you feel already close to the subject.”

So they went one step further. They examined the success of the infamous MySpace shot, which is a picture taken by holding the camera above your head and looking really coy.

“We were sure that everyone thought these pictures were kinda lame. In fact, the prospect of producing hard data on just how lame got us all excited,” Rudder says. “But we were so wrong. In terms of getting new messages, the MySpace Shot is the single most effective photo type for women. We at first thought this was just because, typically, you can kind of see down the girl’s shirt with the camera at that angle — indeed, that seems to be the point of shot in the first place — so we excluded all cleavage-showing shots from the pool and ran the numbers again. No change: it’s still the best shot; better, in fact, than straight-up boob pics.”

So there it is. The infamous MySpace Shot lives because, contrary to popular belief, it actually works. How’s that for a myth-busting Monday?

Image from AV Flox. Information and graphs from OKCupid, via Zach Behrens.