The word “marriage” can elicit a range of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to sadness to fear. But what if the responsibility of deciding when to marry were removed from your shoulders? Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you view it) TIME Tech created a Web app that tells you the perfect age for you to get married based on the median age of your married Facebook friends.
The app analyzes the relationship statuses and ages of your Facebook friends. It defines friends as “married” if their relationship statuses are listed as “married,” “engaged,” “in a domestic partnership” or “in a civil union.” To determine your friends’ ages, the app considers only profiles that list birth years, which amount to only 25% of profiles on average. Obviously there are some flaws in the way the app extracts data, not only with the birth year issue but also with Facebook users who use facetious relationship statuses. While TIME acknowledges the app’s imperfections, it believes that they will not dramatically skew the app’s results.
The larger point TIME is trying to make through this app, though, boils down to the influence social networks have over us. Of course, social networks have their upsides, like increasing communication and social behavior, but they are not without their faults. They can decrease the satisfaction we feel in our own lives. We may see someone’s gourmet food or Valentine’s Day gift and wish it was on our plates or from our own significant others. Facebook and other social media platforms play a big role in making people feel lonely, unhappy and jealous. TIME’s app plays on the fact that social networks affect our ideas about marriage.
So if you decide to take the marriage test and your perfect wedding date isn’t so perfect, don’t get discouraged. Just remember that this is not a reflection of reality, but rather of the impact that social networks have on us.
Take the test on TIME Tech now!