Online Dating Profile Word Clouds

I noticed an interesting experiment on another blog the other day which utilized word clouds to examine online dating profiles. For those that don’t know, a word cloud is a graphical representation of the frequency amount of each word used in a given text. For example, a word that is used 10 times in a body of text will appear much larger than a word that is only used once or twice. Many of you will have probably seen similar displays as a “tag cloud” on various other blogs and websites.

So, using this concept, I decided to conduct my own little experiment, I went on to Plenty of Fish and copy and pasted the Interests sections of 50 female profiles and converted them into word clouds using the Wordle web-site. I repeated the same process again using 50 male profiles and converted those into their own word cloud.

Female Online Dating Profile Word Cloud

Male Online Dating Profile Word Cloud

As you can see there are both similarities as well as some big differences. Lets see if we can analyze this a bit, shall we?

First, lets take a look at the biggest/most used words in the female profiles, which are:

music, movies, friends, dancing, beach, reading, family, concerts, traveling, shopping, laughing, fun and tattoos

Now lets take a look at the biggest/most used words in the male profiles, which are:

sports, music, movies, fishing, camping, cooking, outdoors, golf, football, beach and travel

Obviously, everyone likes music and movies, so it’s no big surprise that those are two of the biggest interests for both profiles. Also, no big surprise that ‘sports’ is the biggest word in the men’s’ online dating profile.

What I find interesting though is that the female dating profiles tend to be more about emotions and bonding, with words like: friends, family, laughing and fun. While the men’s’ interests are mostly activity based and typically some sort of outdoors activity or sport.

A few more interesting observations:

  • The word ‘cooking’ is used more as a male interest than a female interest
  • Tattoos and piercings is a fairly common interest for the ladies. Does this mean that they enjoy getting tattoos or do they like guys with tattoos?
  • The word ‘bars’ is used more on female profiles than on males
  • Though cooking is a big interest in males, the females tend to list specific types of food like: sushi, Mexican, chocolate, and cookies

It really is interesting and I’ve been studying these for over an hour now.

So, how does this help you with your own Plenty of Fish profile? I’m not exactly sure, but I could say that you get a pretty good idea of some of the generic interests that most people list. And if you are trying to generate a profile that is unique and really sticks out, then it might be a good idea to avoid the generic ‘movies’, ‘music’, etc.

A good strategy might be to list specific types of music or specific genres of movies. Even listing a bunch quirky fun things that barely anyone else would add to their online profile would help to spark curiosity and attention.

I saw a good example of someone mixing up their interests section so that it was interesting, funny, and unique:

It has some general interests as well as some that you wouldn’t normally expect. It definitely helps to make the online dating profile more fun.

12 thoughts on “Online Dating Profile Word Clouds

  1. Thanks for the kudos. Imitation is the sincerest form of…

    There’s a ton of information in your clouds. I think one of the most important clues is they can be used to avoid cliche. I’d bet dollars to donuts most women use ‘beach’ in just the way we imagine.

    You’ve beaten me to the punch on one of my own post ideas, more good stuff to come though.

  2. Just a thought, perhaps you could link interests that are common for the opposite sex to increase traffic to your profile?

  3. @Samuel,

    It was a good Idea, and thought using the “Interests” section would create some pretty good looking clouds. I also tried it just using the “about me” section but I found that it wasn’t as useful a comparison, considering a lot of the words are pretty general terms used whenever anyone writes anything. Regardless, thanks for the idea and can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve :)

  4. @Scoot,

    I thought about this and yes that is one possible way to help increase traffic, though the benefits of using generic often used interests like “Music” or “Movies” just means that your profile gets lost in the shuffle, the traffic increase is negligible compared to the benefits of creating something unique.

    I think this idea only works when listing specific interests, this way when you do get people searching by interest, you will get someone more likely to match your personality type. It might be less traffic, but the quality is higher.

  5. Matt,

    The more people know about you the more likely they are to reject you and not want to date you. Every bit of information a person is given about another person causes them to make a judgement. I find on plentyoffish the best profiles are not short and not to long. You have to give a person some information but not to much.

    reading, outdoors, traveling and cooking increaes your chances of finding someone. Putting in cars or football actually hurts you.

  6. What this means is that saying ANY of these words is absolutely USELESS because EVERYONE uses them.

    Want to know how to write a profile that doesn’t sound like it could be written by everyone else?

    Go to http://www.e-cyrano.com.

    You talk. We write.

  7. What a fascinating post Matt, of course I shall have to trot off and try it on my niche market profiles .. will report back.

    @Evan .. doesn’t a profile written by a third person lose your personality. Surely if you have a sparklingly witty profile but can’t really string an amusing sentence together your date is going to notice?

  8. @Markus,

    That’s interesting to know and kind of makes sense, but I still think that being too generic isn’t helping anyone out. Yes, having a air of mystery is favorable but what if you could be mysterious and have a unique profile at the same time? Also, it seems like a generic profile would have to depend on pictures more to generate attraction. Something to think about. Perhaps I’ll run some tests in the future on generic versus unique profiles.

  9. @Markus, aka BigFish,

    I tend to agree with Matt here. We @CupidsElves like to think of it as the “Dodged A Bullet” factor. The whole point of online dating profiles and pictures, is to sort through those you may or may not be interested in dating and/or establishing a relationship with.
    It’s true, that everything you write in your profile (and the way you write it, ie; structure, grammar, spelling) has the potential to run people off from contacting you. We see it as an auto-sort feature of sorts and view it as a good thing.

    For example, you list NASCAR somewhere on your profile. A woman who hates NASCAR sees it listed on your profile and passes you over. Had you not listed it on your profile, she may have contacted you. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll convert her over to team NASCAR. And if her opposition to it is vehement enough, it could later serve as the eliminating factor. Why waste each other’s time when she could have easily and painlessly self-eliminated herself?
    We believe that the more you reveal of yourself, the more self-reflective and mature you appear, and the better potential partners can weigh your compatibility with them.
    Narrowing the field is a good thing if a relationship you seek. Keeping your options open is best for those wishing to play the field.

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