Why do people use missed connections ads?

Via reader request, Kushal asks:

Why do people use missed connection ads? Do they ever work? Is it a sign of enduring optimism of people? Has anyone reading this ever posted, or responded to, a missed connection ad? How did it work out?

I don't have access to data here (anyone?), but I've long assumed that missed connection ads were not intended to target a specific person.  I view them as more like personal ads but wishing to break out of the form.  Maybe describing a missed encounter you had makes you sound deep, yearning, and soulful, whereas "SWM, 43, potbelly, good sense of humor, minor league hockey fan" does not.

You come across as less desperate, more picky, arbitrary in a charming way, and maybe a bit of a horse's ass.

On the other hand, I suspect that a "missed connection" ad yields, on average, fewer replies.  It makes the responder feel presumptuous and thus selects for a given kind of person, namely someone who doesn't mind pushing himself or herself forward.

That is just a guess.  Can any MR readers enlighten us?  Can you cite any data?


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