Saturday, October 06, 2007

Blink and You Miss Me

In "Does This Webcam Make Me Look Fat?", The New York Times reports that "speed dating" services are now available online, and what was once a round-robin rapid-circulation ritual for eager singles that took place in social halls or rented spaces is now taking place in cyberspace. Using webcam technology, WooMe allows users to engage in Malcolm Gladwell style snap judgments about potential romantic partners; it also takes social bookmarking to a new low by allowing daters to tag potential datees with not always complimentary epithets. claims a pedigree that goes back to a Stanford business class. This development puts text-based daters at a new disadvantage. At one time rhetorician Christyne Berzsenyi claimed that writing skills were so highly valued in the highly purpose-driven discourses surrounding on-line dating that these situations could be a model for inspiring better student work. Now epistolary mastery may become less important than on-camera performance. I'll be interested to see some of the online romance papers that will appear at AoIR later this month, to see if they react to this development at all.

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