Facebook Tackles Your Love Life - InformationWeek

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2/14/2014
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Facebook Tackles Your Love Life

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Facebook combs through data to judge whether your love will last, and which seasons spell trouble for relationships.

If you're a data geek, there's a lot to love about Facebook's deep dive into relationships. (If you're not, you may find its peek into your personal life creepy.) The social network's Data Science team poured over piles of statistics to drum up the latest on love just in time for Valentine's Day.

Among its research: the best cities for singles, insights into whether your love will last, and which months may lead to trouble in paradise. Here's what it found.

The best cities for singles
If you're looking to increase your chances of landing love, head to Colorado Springs, Colo. According to Facebook, it has the highest probability of relationships forming. Texas is also a good place to prowl: El Paso, Fort Worth, and San Antonio round out the list's top destinations.

If you're looking for your Prince Charming, head west. San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., are your top cities to land single men. Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Diego are good options, too.

Men: Go south for single ladies. Memphis, Tenn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Fort Worth, Texas, are your best bets. Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va., round out the top five.

Will your relationship last?
The longer you've been with your significant other, the longer your relationship will last, according to Facebook data scientist Bogdan State.

"It's easy to see why this may be. As the days since the two of you 'made it official' (on Facebook) fly by, the relationship gets more opportunities to dissolve," he wrote in a blog post. "Life circumstances and personal incompatibilities may lead to the relationship ending. Alternatively, maybe your couple is one of the lucky ones and your relationship chugs along to happily-ever-after. With every month that passes, more and more shaky relationships end, leaving an ever-larger proportion of solid relationships around."

[For more signs it's over, see 10 Signs Your Geek Lost That Loving Feeling.]

If you're skittish about commitment, consider this: About half of all Facebook relationships that survive just three months are likely to survive to four years or longer, according to the social network.

Beware summer months


Summer lovin'? Not really. Facebook's research also looked at patterns of breakups. According to Facebook, calling it quits peaks in the summer months (from May to July) and dips in February. This particular graph tracked data from 2008 to 2011, which showed a spike in breakups in the second half of 2011. Facebook's State theorizes that this could be attributed to the rebounding economy.

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/20/2014 | 8:42:58 AM
Re: Facebook Tackles Your Love Life
Facebook can tackle our love lives because of the data we give it. :-) I do understand your sentiment, though. It's a little creepy, though not all that surprising.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 6:03:24 AM
Re: Facebook Tackles Your Love Life
@ Brian.Dean, you have made a very pertinent point here. I would say that it is no good making predictions about relationships. Keeping aside the fact that such assumptions may be true or false, sometimes assumptions or predictions creep into mind and we mistake them for reality or destiny which is certainly fatal for relationships.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 5:16:42 AM
Re: Facebook Tackles Your Love Life
I would rather like to tackle my love life myself than letting even my closest friends do that, let alone Facebook. And why should Facebook be worrying about our love lives as long as they are generating revenues at our cost. What makes me feel creepy is the very fact that Facebook has jumped into research field as well.

 
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 10:33:54 AM
Re: Other factors
You can put me in the camp that finds this creepy.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/18/2014 | 9:39:12 AM
Re: Other factors
Facebook has since posted additional research on the formation of love and on breakups. Some interesting tidbits in both.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2014 | 7:07:11 AM
Re: Sunk Costs
That's great. It is odd the way the human brain works sometimes. 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
2/17/2014 | 11:47:36 PM
Sunk Costs
The second finding reminds me of this "Honest Valentine Card."
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2014 | 8:33:11 AM
Re: Other factors
Yes there is a high probability that's happening.

All in fair in love and war, so is big data analysis on social data, but I wonder if predictability would be a good thing or a bad thing in the long run on relationships. Knowing that assumptions and correlation can be accurate as times, at other times they can be completely random. 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
2/17/2014 | 7:43:38 AM
Other factors
I'd like to see some age related data to go along side with this, as Facebook relationship statuses are going to fluctuate far more in younger teens where a "relationship" isn't as much of a real thing as it would be in older users, who are also less likely to change their status on a whim or out of spite. 
lpop679
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lpop679,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2014 | 11:22:29 PM
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