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Facebook’s former in-house psychiatrist is writing a book about online dating.

Corinne Segal

October 22, 2020, 1:43pm

Ah, love: it is “a smoke rais’d with the fume of sighs; / Being purg’d, a fire sparkling in a lover’s eyes”; it “jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope”; it happens on the advice of Facebook’s former in-house psychiatrist.

Dr. Mimi Winsberg, the (former) holder of a job title to dominate our nightmares, has written a guide to online dating titled Speaking in Thumbs, a title about which many jokes could be made but will not be made in this blog post. Bluebird has acquired it from Abner Stein Literary Agency and is yet to set a publication date.

Winsberg, the Chief Medical Officer of Brightside Health (a start-up she co-founded), spent nearly three years at the Facebook Health Center, where, presumably, she saw some stuff. Now, at Brightside, her work focuses on “effectively training a machine to be a good psychiatrist,” she told Insider in September. It’s all very 2020.

The book’s synopsis lays out her mission:

Speaking in Thumbs is an insightful guide to the world of online dating, combining start-of-the-art research and clinical psychology with real-life examples to help readers unpick the meaning and intent of potential partners’ digital communication. Throughout the book Dr Mimi Winsberg, former in-house psychiatrist at Facebook’s Wellness Centre in California, decodes common texting tropes and identifies the red flags that may spell trouble down the road for long-term relationships.

On one hand, if anyone is qualified to speak out from the darkest underbelly of online dating and our complicated relationship to it, it’s probably Dr. Winsberg. On the other hand, this is stepping on group chat territory in a big way.

Thankfully, no one—not even Silicon Valley—can make that obsolete.

[via The Bookseller]

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