‘Butterfly’ nets matches through Web

‘Butterfly’ nets matches through Web

The popularity of online dating sites like www.Match.com and ww.TheRightOne.com is continually increasing as people all over the globe meet on the Internet to find that special someone.

Now, thanks to a sophomore at Harvard, there is a free site to help Northeastern and other Boston students match up.

“It’s a quick, fun way for students to procrastinate,” creator Jonathan Hyman said. “And if you happen to fall in love and have babies, great.”

Hyman decided on the Web site, www.TheButterflyNetwork.net, after the success last February of www.CrimsonCupid.com, a matching site made exclusively for Harvard students.

However, Hyman refuses to call the network a dating site.

“We’re in college; we don’t need dating sites. It’s more of a way to start the conversation,” he said.

The Web site has participants create a profile about themselves, take a standardized personality test, and then a survey expanding on their match preferences. With the data, it matches the user with the most compatible members of his or her desired sex.

It also contains added features to make the site more fun and give people more accurate matches, Hyman said.

For example, anyone who has ever been in a relationship with someone on The Butterfly Network can rate his or her experience with that person on a scale of one to 10.

Friends can also answer personality questions about others, and users can create their own personality test similar to the style of the Dating Game to wean out inaccurate matches.

On the site is about page, Hyman writes his goal is for people to be matched up based on real-world experiences instead of just the standard personality tests.

Only students with a college-provided (.edu) e-mail address can register for the site, but it is open to colleges outside the Boston area, including Georgetown University, Princeton University and a few Texas schools.

Although the personality site was popular at Harvard, Kamila Piekos, a senior pharmacy major, said using an online dating site is something she would never consider.

“I personally believe in meeting someone in activities you have in common, not over the Internet,” she said.

Rob Ferguson, a freshman cardiopulmonary and exercise science major, said the idea of meeting people other than friends online “just seems weird.”

However, Ferguson did admit that he may be curious to see who he would match up with.

“It would be fun to see, but I would never actually use [the results] as a resource,” he said.

The site contains many similarities to the popular Facebook site.

Users can post pictures of themselves, leave comments on each others’ profiles and send private messages to other people on the network.

But Hyman said he’s not trying to compete with Facebook.

“Instead of Facebook-stalking someone to see if you’re compatible, you can get matched up with them through the Butterfly Network,” he said on the site’s about page.

While The Butterfly Network has the potential to become popular with a large amount of users, as of now Hyman isn’t intending to keep it going permanently. As a free site he is actually losing money on it, especially because he refuses to put up “annoying” advertising, he said.

The site was intended to be a fun thing for students to enjoy during February and around Valentine’s Day, but Hyman said he’s not sure if anyone will use it afterward.

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