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Virtual love and connection is just a survey away

Datamatch, Mixtape and Match, Sophomore Spring Fling and First Year Friend Scramble among online matchmaking surveys available to students

Searching for love? Or just simple human connections?

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and, in preparation, several student organizations have released fun and casual online matchmaking surveys to help students form virtual connections. These online services include the seminal online matchmaker, Datamatch, which is joined by Brown Student & Community Radio’s Mixtape and Match as well as Class Coordinating Board’s Sophomore Spring Fling and First Year Friend Scramble.

Datamatch was created by the Harvard Computer Society in 1994 and in 2018, the Harvard Datamatch organization teamed up with The Blognonian to bring the tradition to University students, The Herald previously reported. That same year, Datamatch expanded to Columbia University, Barnard College and Wellesley College. Now the service is available at over 30 colleges and universities and this year established an international network by reaching McGill University in Canada. 

In the past, the service has been a humorous activity to add a bit of happiness into Valentine’s Day. That core tradition and structure of Datamatch continues this year, with some additional website and design upgrades. 

“I feel like it fits in well with what happens at Brown… because it’s kind of silly but it’s what you make of it,” said Myung Joo Lee ’22, current editor-in-chief of the Blognonian as well as campus lead and design lead for Datamatch. 

So far, over 1,500 Brown students have filled out the survey, which contains a series of 20 quirky but relevant questions like “What kind of Zoomer are you?” and “My biggest fear at the testing center is…” Students can choose to receive either romantic or platonic matches, and are then paired with around 10 people based on a “top secret” algorithm. 

In the past, The Blognonian has spread the word about Datamatch using “flyer posting parties,” where students display flyers for the matching service all around campus, Lee said. This year, because of the pandemic, The Blognonian has resorted to digital promotion, including having student staff use Zoom backgrounds advertising Datamatch. 

This year, instead of providing credits or gifts from local businesses and restaurants as an incentive for participants to reach out to their matches, the Brown survey will be providing a $10 Snackpass credit. Users also now have the option to participate in Crush Roulette, which allows a user to submit the emails of two other people they believe would fit well together to boost their chance of matching. Another new feature is the blocklist, where students can submit the names of users they wouldn’t like to be matched with. 

The form opened at midnight on Feb. 7 and closes on Feb. 13. Datamatch’s algorithm processes the surveys overnight and releases the matches on Valentine’s Day. 

Mixtape and Match, BSR’s Datamatch-inspired survey, was created in 2018 with the goal of matching students based on music taste. The survey operates like Datamatch in that participants are asked to take a five minute survey of fun questions and are connected with their romantic or platonic music match on Valentine’s Day. 

The purpose Mixtape and Match was twofold, according to Caitlin Pintavorn ’21, current station manager and co-president of BSR — to bring attention to BSR and match students with common music tastes. “We had at that time just launched onto our FM signal, so we didn’t really have that much exposure since we had been off air for almost a decade,” she said. “It was just kind of a way to bring together students on campus through music.” 

Last year, close to 500 Brown students participated in Mixtape and Match. The top three artists that were submitted were Frank Ocean, The Beatles and Kendrick Lamar and top genres included indie, pop and alternative. 

For Mixtape and Match users, there is an option to create a Spotify playlist with your match. Matches who create a playlist together can enter a raffle for two gift cards to Ceremony, a local Thayer street cafe, though matches need not go together in-person. Nicholas Moreno ’21, another co-president of BSR, said that data from Mixtape and Match could provide “input from the students on what we put in our program.”

The Mixtape and Match form opened Feb. 1 and closes the night of Feb. 13. 

Like BSR and The Blognonian, the Class Coordinating Board created two matching services this year, called the Sophomore Spring Fling and the Freshman First Year Scramble, with the goal of helping students form relationships and meet new people during the pandemic. 

“We got a lot of feedback from the First Years that they didn’t know how to make friends without breaking Covid rules,” said Taylor Knapp ’23, president of 2023 CCB. CCB presidents organized the platonic survey for the First Years and had about 700 participants, Knapp added.

About 450 sophomores participated in the Sophomore Spring Fling, which generated both platonic and romantic matches and used a survey to match students like Datamatch. Students received around five matches, those matches’ emails and a fun fact about them Feb. 4.

Knapp said she thought the event went well and that the CCB had received positive feedback. 

“We thought this would be a cool, not super difficult way of connecting people,” Knapp said.


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