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” Chong calls her startup “a community where women can talk honestly about what matters to them.” Others have called it Yelp for men.Lulu is often called a dating app, but it is actually a rating app.Lulu, an app founded in 2013, is the closest anyone has come, so far, to making Shteyngart’s vision come true.“We look up everything these days,” Alexandra Chong, Lulu’s founder, said recently. Why should we not also have references when it comes to the most important thing?
In “Super Sad True Love Story,” Gary Shteyngart’s novel set in a social-media dystopia, each person is publicly assigned a “fuckability” score, determined by various algorithms.
(You can use it to prowl for potential dates—it’s a free country—but the app will not do it for you.) To rate a man on Lulu, you select from a battery of pre-written hashtags—some positive (#Life Of The Party, #Does Dishes), some negative (#Boring, #Death Breath), and some ambiguous (#Drives Me Crazy, #Charmed My Pants Off, #Plays Didgeridoo).
Those responses are distilled into a harshly precise numerical score.
The classic example is overfishing: each individual fisherman is tempted to harvest the ocean just a little bit more, and improve his current catch, but if all the fishermen do so then the piscine population plummets and everyone suffers in the long run.
In the case of online dating, the “shared resource” is women users’ attention: if every man “overfishes” then the women’s attention (and patience) runs out, and the women abandon the app altogether.