A look at how well online dating works
London: A survey conducted on how well online dating works has found that more couples in America are meeting one another through the internet rather than through any other means.
The survey ‘How Couples Meet and Stay Together’ found that in fact the Internet has become one of the most popular places for people to meet.
"Online dating definitely works," the Guardian quoted Reuben J. Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology at the City University of New York, who collaborated on the survey, as saying.
"We estimate that 23 percent of the couples in the U.S. who met in the two years from 2007 to 2009 met online. More people meet online now than meet through school, work, church, bars, parties, et cetera," he said.
According to Discovery News, Thomas said these online avenues have opened up an eligible dating pool particularly for certain groups that might not have as many offline romantic opportunities.
"Online dating is used most by subpopulations that don’t have a great number of potential partners available to meet in their everyday life," Thomas said.
"This can include people in their 30s and 40s, populations that are largely already coupled, or minority sexualities.
"The rate of partnering doesn’t seem to be changing. When we look at data on women’s sexuality over the past few decades, they seem to be no more likely to be in a relationship now than before," he stated.
Rutgers communications assistant professor Jennifer Gibbs has studied online dating patterns and has noticed that people feel a tug-of-war between creating ideal profiles to stand out from the crowd or building more accurate profiles that risk getting lost in the enormous online dating market.
Some online daters try to lie about their ages or weight to prevent getting filtered out in demographic searches, as minor "flaws" can become magnified online, compared to real world interactions.
"When you meet someone face to face you might not know exactly how old they are, but online you might develop these stringent criteria, like ``if you’re 35, I’ll date you, but if you’re 36, forget it``," Gibbs explained.
On the flip side, putting too much stock into someone with a seemingly perfect online profile and with whom you have an easy Web rapport can also lead to offline disappointment.
Researchers refer to that tendency to idealize people based on the bits and pieces of information they share online as the "hyperpersonal effect".
So while statistically online dating certainly works, with more than 10 million American couples as proof, it’s important to grasp the difference between what Gibbs calls online "relationshopping" and offline "relationshipping".
Essentially, online dating sites provide a marketplace to easily shop around and find interesting people to meet, but building lasting relationships requires more offline maintenance.
"Online dating sites are all about bringing people together, and sometimes it forms this illusion that with a few clicks of the mouse you can find your soul mate," Gibbs said.
"But really, that’s just the first step, and to get to know the person there’s a process of developing a relationship," she added.