Creators of Facebook dating platform discuss the intricacies of the phenomenon
In fall 2016, a group of 26 residents in Miller Hall joked about the idea of making an online blind dating site for North Central students. They discussed the stigma North Central students often feel about dating and how they wished just one date didn’t put pressure on people to think about marriage.
It was all a floor joke until two students decided to make it happen. It was then that senior Allison Courtney, resident advisor of Four Central Miller, and senior Laura Reed, Miller Hall’s assistant resident director, created the Facebook account, launching the phenomenon called NCU Blind Dates. This was created to set up North Central students with other North Central students in hopes that they would get to know each other and break the stereotypes that surround dating.
After the account was launched, the two co-conspirators held a mandatory meeting for the residents of their floor community. They ceremonially had each woman put some ketchup on a finger to do a mock blood oath swearing them to secrecy about the creation of the dating account.
During an exclusive interview with The Northerner, Courtney and Reed said the process for setting people on dates was quite intricate. Rating everyone by class standing and availability, they would pick people who they thought would get along well then send emails setting up the dates. The email would disclose the date, time, person paying, location and clothing description of the other person.
Courtney and Reed said there were no successful relationships that developed from this endeavor and that many people were stood up on dates. Although there was a lack of success in new relationships starting, it was a “fun new hype” on campus.
The co-creators of the page remained anonymous for approximately two months as was their intention. When people began to suspect them as the brains behind the dating operation, they said they would go to drastic measures to keep their identities disclosed, even “lying to peoples’ faces” at times. One night toward the end of the fall semester, Reed and Courtney learned that someone had exposed their identities behind NCU Blind Dates through a Facebook post. Though they denied all involvement, they eventually found themselves unable to retract themselves from their role and stopped setting people up on dates. They still believe NCU Blind Dates should have an anonymous face to it, as it was a little odd for people knowing who was behind the scenes of their secret dates.
The two wished that people would not have exposed who was behind the matchmaking and instead would have let the fun happen and the excitement grow.
“NCU Blind Dates was good until everyone wanted to know who it was,” Courtney said.
If they were to do it again, they said that they would be more secretive and active with their dating service. Reed explained that she wishes she would have been able to set more people up on dates, but was unable to do so. During the climax of the social media account, the two seniors would spend hours matching people. Because it was a time consuming activity, only about 50 out of the 150-200 applicants were set up on a date.