Rumor has it that Match.com is coming out with a facebook app called "Little Black Book". Details on it are a tad fuzzy, but it sounds like it will show other users who have installed Little Black Book in addition Match.com users.
Little Black Book lets Facebook users sign up to see the other Facebook users who hope to date someone. Once they're signed up, users of Little Black Book will receive potential matches among Facebook users and non-Facebook users who are signed up with Match.com.
This could be just what online dating needs. Match.com floods you with a wealth of details about a person and lets you search on minute details. "Hmm, why yes, I would only like to date people who are in Financial services. But no legal for me!" The problem is, of course, even if you do care a great deal about your date's profession, you probably don't regard paralegal vs partner in a law firm the same way. You can also see if your diet matches your date's diet. I can just see someone now: "Well, sure, Suzie wasn't as well educated as I wanted, but her diet matched mine, and that's why we fell in love!"
So while Match.com shows you a suitor's carefully crafted profile, Facebook can give you a glimpse into their actual life. A Facebook profile is maintained for the purposes of sharing one's life with their friends. It contains actual photos - not just the top two or three shots. A comment on a person's wall such as "Remember that He's always there. We'll pray for you!" or "Do you remember anything from last night?" can tell you if a person is immersed in religion or partying (or both). Because Facebook is a platform for interacting with friends, it can tell you more about who a person actually is. Match.com profile are written expressly for attracting strangers and therefore represent who a person wants to be. Little Black Book could breath a bit of real life into online dating.
Will Little Black Book break online dating's "don't ask, don't tell" policy?
A gay friend of mine uses online dating because it's hard to meet other gay men without going to gay bars - and that's not really his scene. A family member of mine uses it because, as a single parent, there aren't many options. Attractive, social, intelligent friends in their 20s - the people you would expect to never "need" it - use online dating because they are frustrated with the dating scene or just figure, "hey, why not?" Numerous friends and family members have found their spouse or long term partner from a dating service. In fact, according to one study, 12% of couples married in the last year met online. Wow.
Despite the fact that most people I know are using online dating services, and that it appears to be working, they will only admit to it very quietly - if at all. (Note how I carefully worded the above paragraph to ensure that I'm not pinpointing any specific person.) Online dating is like this dark little secret.
The problem is that Facebook apps typically thrive off word-of-mouth (eg, mini-feeds and invites). I added Fun Wall, SuperWall and Nicknames because I wanted read the message someone had left me. I added BillMonk because someone invited me to it. I added Percent because I saw it in someone's mini-feed.
It's a catch-22. If Little Black Book advertises you use it, then many people won't install it. If they don't advertise that you use it, people won't discover that it's out there.
Or, maybe, just maybe, Little Black Book will show that online dating doesn't have to be a dark little secret.