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Trump, Pokemon, smiley face: how we flirted in 2016

What can you learn from this year's trends?

Trump, Pokemon, smiley face: how we flirted in 2016

Pokémon is more important to would-be daters than Brexit. Ten times more, in fact. 

At least that’s the word from OkCupid, which has just released a great, big data dump of dating, with some interesting findings about how we flirted in 2016.

By rifling through every OkCupid message sent between US users during 1 January 2015 to 15 November of this year (which some might argue is a bit nosy), then zooming in the ‘good’ conversations – that had at least four messages and the trading of contact details – the site compared the resulting data with the same info from 2015, to see how messaging has evolved.

Amidst the oceans of data, we can only assume OkCupid staff chose to put their fingers in their ears and shout “La-la-la-la-la-la” each time they happened upon the phrase, “Shit, I didn’t realise this account was still active – I normally use Tinder.”

Anyway, this is what they found.


Given they didn’t exist a year ago, it figures that cultural phenomenons like Stranger Things and Pokémon Go saw a surge in usage (+91% and +119%, respectively). But online daters were also very keen to use Donald Trump – who, sadly, has existed since 1946 – as a conversational lubricant in their quest to find the one. Sexy.

But for all the political turmoil that engulfed the planet – at times making us wish we could cut out the middleman and launch nuclear missiles at our own faces – 2016 has been a vintage year for the smiley. To the tune of +1,996%, in fact. The emoji with the second greatest upswing was the thinking emoji, with an honourable mention for the geek emoji and its 794% rise. Presumably as we’ve all been nerding out over Stranger Things, Jessica Jones and Pokémon.


So what does it all mean? You’re advised to keep it current, basically.

Don’t keep carping on about The Sopranos “Because I don’t care about Breaking Bad or The Wire – it’s the single best TV show of all time!”, when folk are less into gangsters, more Westworld-ish androids. 

“Our data predicts that messaging about new movies, sports and politics is a good way to interact with other daters,” goes the OkCupid blog. “Common interests create common ground, while still allowing your individuality to come through.”


But then, if 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that we’ve “had enough of experts” – right?

So yeah, feel free to take all of this with a pinch of salt, then promptly stab Boris Johnson in the back. Because it sure worked for our beloved Prime Minister, Michael Gove, didn’t it? Oh. Wait…

You can see the rest of OkCupid’s findings here.

(Pic: iStock)