If you use Pinterest, which puts all its emphasis on photos, you already know the power of an image.
If you smoke a cigarette every now and again, maybe only when you're having a cocktail, does that make you a smoker? You might say that you're looking for a tall businessman, but you only click on profiles compact musicians.
The site will use your behavioral data and match you on that. Unlike online dating sites, most mobile apps are free, require just a few seconds to set up, and include a real-time geolocation feature, which is to say that they're more immediate. Set your location, age, and gender preferences and you'll see a stream of pictures showing who's available nearby.
Am I really being matched with someone specifically for me, or is it all random chance? The problem has to do with how dating sites collect and parse our data.
A lot of sites ask some very basic questions, like whether you smoke or what religion you are. Dating sites are built to interview you individually, and I'd hazard a guess that you're not painting a truly accurate picture of yourself online. Some sites ignore your answers and instead look at your behaviors.
But again, there might be a good reason you're clicking on men who seem contrary to your stated preferences: You're curious, you're bored, you're looking with a girlfriend and that happens to be her type. Just about everyone uses them for casual meetups, but some women I know claim that they're finding significant others using apps like Tinder.