Does anyone remember that show on MTV called “Room Raiders”? “Room Raiders” was a dating reality show where viewers would spend 30 minutes watching a contestant snoop through the rooms of three potential dates in hopes of determining their best match. MTV would allow the guest to “raid” the rooms, unannounced but equipped with their very own spy kit. The contestant would sift through their underwear drawers, notebooks, TV guides, and whatever else they could get their hands on.
The other parties who were snatched out of their rooms with little to no warning, despite agreeing to participate in the show, watched from a van parked at an undisclosed location. They awkwardly reacted to the information pieced together about them that was either true, false, or maybe just… coincidence?
This show was often uncomfortable to watch, but also kind of intriguing to see how right or wrong the constant was when it came to making those snap judgements based on the little pieces of information they collected. The concept was simple and a little odd.
Y’all know me and my mid-level dives into psychology… to me, the whole “Room Raiders” concept was kind of like a version of thin slicing. Thin slicing is something I learned while reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, but apparently, it’s a pretty popular term. By Gladwell’s definition, “Thin Slicing is a critical part of rapid cognition. It refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviors based on narrow slices of experience.”
It got me thinking — what if someone I wanted to date were to Room-Raiders style thin slice me before meeting me? Fifteen years ago, when “Room Raiders” premiered, a person’s bedroom may have been most indicative of who they were and what they like to do. However, now someone’s smartphone actually unlocks all the doors to their life.
Would a man be able to draw the appropriate conclusions about me if I gave him access to my smartphone prior to meeting me?
Let’s start with my camera roll. The thought is frightening. Can you imagine someone swiping through your failed selfies in an attempt to find a photo of you? You know, it’s a 9:1 ratio. For every great selfie, you had to be humbled nine other times. What if he stumbles upon my recently deleted photos? Most of us feel like once a photo is deleted it’s gone, but the truth is that damn recently deleted file is there just to hold on to the memory we no longer wanted for 30 more days. My main camera roll would likely suggest that I’m obsessed with my friend’s kids, I don’t miss the opportunity to catch a selfie in good lighting and, perhaps, I have a problem with letting go. I have over 30,000 saved photos.
Imagine, next, that he moved on to my social media. People’s actual Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter feeds are our curated versions of snapshots we give people to digest us, so I would be totally cool with that. I’ve heard my Instagram pages give off heavy OCD. I don’t think the assumption is off.
However, if he decides to peruse around my dm’s on IG… I might start to get a little uncomfortable. Let’s just say it would certainly give him a realistic idea of the playing field, that’s for sure. What if he somehow ended up stumbling upon my saved photos on IG? I’m so emo. The collections of photos I have saved on IG range from vacation home and foreign sports cars #goals to the sappiest of love quotes. I would hope he never made it to Snapchat because the failed Snapchat shot of me with dog ears and a wagging tongue is never the move.
Let’s imagine he then moved on to check out my Uber/Lyft trip history. In a city like NYC, he could totally judge me by the places I go, but bigger than that, he could judge me on the times I took my trips. Rides between 1am-4am? Suspect.
What about a man scrolling through my group chat or texts with my best friends, trying to identify what type of friend I am? That’s when it gets tricky. I would be hella embarrassed for him to read the intimate convos that my girlfriends and I have, whether it’s about the stress of work, a quick vent session, or even the catty stupid girl talk that isn’t totally quite representative of who we are. I’ll be honest, my friends and I are assholes. We laugh at dumb memes, .gifs, and screenshots. We talk shit, a lot of it. Honestly, I’m pretty sure if someone saw my screenshots, they would think I was a mean girl.
I tend to screenshot almost everything that I find hilarious, embarrassing, or interesting. Sometimes, I take the screenshot so I can send it elsewhere, or sometimes it’s for me to reference later. I recently read that screenshots are
When I really think about it, you could pretty much find out almost anything about me from my iPhone. My bank accounts, my calendar, and my innermost thoughts. I would never want a man to thin slice me prior to meeting me. In fact, it seems like I don’t want anyone going through my phone, ever.
Not a stranger.
Not my mother.
Not my friends.
Not my man.
Not my future man.
The weird shit going on in that phone is just for me.
Gladwell asks, “How is it possible to gather the necessary information for a sophisticated judgment in such a short period of time?” Apparently, it is, just skip the real-life nuances and get right to the mobile device.