Why so Popular Today?
According to a study done by a group of scientists at the University of Rochester, online dating is now the second most popular form of matchmaking in the United States behind being set up by a mutual friend (Searles, 2012). So why has online dating taken over the matchmaking world?
Humans are social beings, we have an innate desire to interact and connect emotionally with those around us. It is also biologically embedded in all humans to simplify and create cognitive short cuts; it is why humans continually engineer simpler ways of accomplishing each and every task they set out to do. In this instance online dating provides a simpler format for social interaction than previously available. Much like social networking, in online dating there is no need for verbal or even written communication, expressing interest in another person could be as simple as pressing a “like” button on that persons dating profile (Cox, 2014).
The ever-growing popularity of online dating can also be attributed to differences in thinking between generations. It is reasonable to believe that even 20 years ago, when online dating was in its infancy there was a stigma about it. People used to ask, “Why would you try online dating?” However, we are currently living in a generation that was brought up online. In other words, with the evolution of the Internet came the downfall of online dating stigmas. People today believe it is logical to date online claiming that it’s simple, efficient, and fun.
When someone brings up online dating, websites like eharmony.com or match.com come to mind, however todays online dating world has evolved to suit almost every important quality one may desire in their partner. Websites such as Jdate.com and ChristianMingle.com offer people the opportunity to search for their partners based on them believing in the same faith as themselves. This is something that would normally only be found out on a first date. Furthermore, websites such as glutenfreesingles.com, blackpeoplemeet.com, and farmersonly.com allow people to search for a partner based on dietary needs, race, and occupation respectively. The reason this is so important is because dating is scary. Before online dating a person was not capable of learning these important attributes about another before they met said person. Online dating allows someone to literally search hundreds of people without ever meeting them face to face based on what is most important to that person. This to most people makes dating much less scary.
From dating on your laptop to dating on your smartphone, apps such as Tinder or Jswipe, provide an even less intimate platform for finding a partner. Applications such as the aforementioned simply allow someone to select “yes” or “no” on another person based on a profile consisting of a couple of pictures and some basic information such as age and geographic location in comparison to yourself. These types of apps found their popularity amongst the same generation that endorses other formats of online dating. Furthermore, it provides an even simpler opportunity than creating a lengthy profile online.
Today, 1 in 5 people are said to meet online (Searles, 2012), People date online for many reasons; for some it is less time consuming then actually interacting with other people in person, for others they enjoy having more options, but for most it provides you with an introduction before the actual introduction which often extinguishes any fear one might have before a big date.