Relationships – how online dating shapes them
Late December through Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year when it comes to online dating sites and apps, according to Match.com, being referred to as “cuffing season”, as people are desperately trying to find a serious relationship during the cold months.
A recent study done by pewresearch.org found 59% of American adults would refer to “going online” as a good way of meeting people. That is 15% more than merely a decade ago. As a matter of fact, in 2015 15% of American adults used a dating app or website. A number that most likely has only increased since the last study.
Apparently attitudes toward online dating have changed over the years, but how has online dating changed the connections we make?
Making an effort to answer this question “Morning Edition” asked two online daters that deal with the topic professionally: Skyler Wang, a PH.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California Berkeley, and Megan Murray, a senior content strategist for Zoosk, an online dating site and mobile app. An undergraduate course named “What Makes Us Click” was taught by Wang at the University of British Colombia.
What has changed? Now vs. Then
Weirdly enough it is now strange to meet a date in person before making any online conversation. What was once taboo is now commonplace.
“I found that people don’t approach people as much when they’re in person when you go to bars,” Murray says.
It now is not unusual to check out Grindr and Tinder before going out, to meet some people at the bars where they are headed. Wang, who identifies as gay explains this: “Now the ‘gayborhood’ is in your cell phone,” he says. “I think technology has created a better, more democratic social environment for especially marginalized groups.”
Dating has been made much more accessible and from 2013 to 2015 the number of American adults that have used a dating app has tripled. The norms of dating are evolving with every new way people try to find to connect.
“dating has always been hard, the dynamics have changed.”, Murray says.
The end of magic?
The dating pool may be improved to be more efficient by technology, but does that still leave room for a magic connection to someone?
“I do think the romance and the magic sneaks in there and no matter what,” Murray says. “If you really care about someone and you meet them there’s going to be these indefinable moments … or maybe you realize you’re both keeping spreadsheets,” he says with a laugh. “There’s always going to be some sweet little thing that comes through.”
Wang also states that some sites even describe themselves as more of an introduction service than a dating site.
“the dating doesn’t happen online. The dating happens in person,” Wang says. “So in a way they’re trying to preserve that magic.”
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