Let’s face it. Bar hopping to find your perfect date is not only old school, it turns out is less popular and perhaps less risky than finding a date online using the internet. The raison d’etre or purpose of the Internet after all is to facilitate hookups whether professional or ahem personal.
Dating is defined as a social stage of romance with the aim of assessing two people’s compatibility with each other. Whether that is through an in-person meeting or an online encounter is the cause célèbre of the meaning of dating for every individual.
According to a 2012 study from Finkel & Associates, Psychology Today reported that there are three main differences in traditional dating and Internet dating: accessing, matching, and communicating.
Prior to the Internet, people found themselves with a more limited means of finding their partners either at work – a major no-no to some – or at hookup places like the supermarket, the local library or the neighborhood bar.
The Internet opened up a quicker way to access many more potential dates. Simply put, open up a web browser or phone app and voila!
Matching prior to the Internet was also a bit of a hit or a miss thing. Johnny Lee’s 1980 song Looking for Love encapsulated this with his lyrics about single bars and good time lovers never being true.
With Internet dating, looking for love is more about algorithms that match couple’s personality traits. Prior to Internet dating, it was de rigueur to enable relationship building through both talk and touch lending a more personal feel in communication. Communicating through a computer aided intermediary became safer and easier, although maybe a little colder.
Although online dating using the Internet has many perks and positive benefits, there are tradeoffs from traditional old school dating including the exhaustion of finding a mate through all the online profiles and traffic, the lies and half truths of people posting on their profiles or in chat rooms, and the potential to be scammed by online con artists posing as your dream dates – if you only pay their airfares from Russia or the Ukraine.
Online Dating Expert Julie Spira of Huffington Post said even dating sites like Plenty of Fish or Match.com offer live events like speed dating to matchup potential dates, taking their customers offline.
But, Spira said an advantage of the change from traditional dating to online dating is one can find someone outside his or her Zip code. In other words, Internet dating can go global! So, if you meet someone from Paris and you live in San Francisco, an online rendezvous there may be.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center,
- Three in ten U.S. adults have used an online dating site or app.
- One in ten say they have been in a committed relationship using online dating tools.
- Six in ten say they have had overall positive experiences with using Internet dating tools.
The Pew Research Center study pointed out that younger generations and the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community have higher numbers in using technology and positive impressions on online dating.
The underbelly of any digital platform is its dehumanizing effects, namely that 45 percent found it more frustrating than hopeful (28 percent) in their online experiences; 35 percent felt that online dating made them feel more pessimistic as opposed to 29 percent of optimistic users; and whereas 32 percent of users felt more secure, 25 percent felt less secure according to the survey.
Do we need to develop a whole new way of looking at online Internet dating than we did before the Internet?
Trish McDermott, another dating coach and a founder of Match.com, an online dating site, thinks so saying Match.com may have destroyed the concept of dating forever in an interview with Psychology Today and thereby created a whole new dating lingo.
Words such as ghosting (disappearing from an online relationship) and swiping left (brazenly dismissing someone with a turn of a finger) have appeared in the lingua franca of online users.
Even the overabundance of choice may leave people not only disoriented, but also cause such symptoms as depression and anxiety.
MIT Technology Review reported that even with the dehumanization of our machine age, online dating is the second most popular way to find potential love partners and the most popular amongst the homosexual population.
This is a positive boon for the diversity of the planet, MIT Technology Review pointed out, greatly increasing the opportunities not only for diverse sexuality, but for racial diversity as well.
In 1995, when Match.com was introduced for example, interracial marriages rose in number and spiked again in 2014 when online dating became even more popular.
Evidence points out that the institution of marriage is even stronger when couples meet online rather than traditionally through friends or family. Researchers at MIT suggest that couples have a lower rate of breakups if they first met online.
Whether you are a web surfer or a bar hopper, one cannot get over the fact that the dating scene has significantly shifted and will continue to grow in online daters but may change its focus when future technology is developed.
Forbes magazine reported the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in digital dating being more immersive than a computer aided middleman of Match.com or Plenty of Fish.
Besides a sex teleport machine imagined in Logan’s Run, where the main character dispenses with phone calls, video chats and other technology breakthroughs and dials a sex partner who is teleported to his room, some futurists see in VR a more intense and personal feeling than online dating.
Those looking at walking the Champs-Élysées with your lover, or venturing into the Left Bank of the Seine may look no further than their own living room with VR.
According to Forbes, Skyping and Facetiming result in greater trust and satisfaction. VR may just be a stepping stone to the ultimate date. After that? Ooh! Lah! Lah!
How did you find love? Online, through family or friends? Post your story here!