By explaining some of the insights he has gleaned from Ok Cupid and other social networks, he demystifies data-mining and sheds light on what, for better or for worse, it is now capable of."—Financial Times"Dataclysm is a well-written and funny look at what the numbers reveal about human behavior in the age of social media.

The data in my book is almost all passively observed—there’s no questionnaire, no contrived experiment to simulate “real life.” This data is real life.

Online you have friends, lovers, enemies, and intense moments of truth without a thought for who’s watching, because ostensibly no one is—except of course the computers recording it all.

It’s like the second advent of reality television, but this time without the television part. My hope is that this ambivalence makes me a trustworthy guide through the thicket of technology and data.

I admire the knowledge that social data can bring us; I also fear the consequences.

As more of our social interaction happens on social media, how much can researchers learn about us from our online interactions?

Well, they can only learn what we tell them, but in the age of Facebook and Google, that’s become pretty much everything.

You have a lot to say about race in the book, and you use data to shed light on the many ways it affects the way we interact with one another.

What surprised you about your research in this area? The data on race was surprising only in its stubborn predictability—for all the glitzy technology, the results could’ve been from the 1950s.

In Dataclysm you’re taking this flood of information and putting it to an entirely new use: understanding human nature. I tried really hard to avoid the numerical dog and pony show.