Online Dating: The New Offline Dating

It’s no great surprise that online dating is the new offline dating!  With a whole generation having now grown up with the Internet, most real world activities have their online counterpart.  From its early days online dating was one area of particular interest and with sites like Match.com having been established since the mid-nineties.  The concept of online dating is simply an expansion of the ‘personal columns’ once found amongst the classifieds in local and national papers; and as with most things new media, the concept has grown and developed to cater for a much wider audience.  Today, with a large number of sites there is still room for those looking to build a dating site.  So why are dating sites so popular and what are their strong points for those looking to establish new ones?


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Social Network Changes

In many ways modern technology and lifestyles have led to a more fractured society than we have lived in the past.  While this is not great, the online world could be seen as the way in which these ‘fractures’ are being healed.  With more mobile lifestyles it is now the norm for many people to move away from family to attend university and then move again, away from established friend bases, for work.  Online dating sites offer those who find themselves in new cities the chance to form relationships, despite the lack of a local extended group of friends or family networks.

New Opportunities

Research suggests that in the US, at least one in five relationships now begin online.  Traditionally, many relationships begin through introductions within a wider social circle and as mentioned above, online dating sites offer to fill the gaps where this social and family circle is scattered.  Two other significant factors also seem to be at play; changing lifestyles leave many people heavily involved in other aspects of their life, child rearing or work commitments being two common reasons that individuals lack the time to build networks of friends and meet new partners.  In both of these cases the online dating site offers far more flexibility for those who find that time to meet new friends or partners is seriously limited.

Widespread Appeal

Those from minority sexuality groups have also taken quickly to online dating sites.  The sites offer the opportunity to connect with other people of the same sexuality or lifestyle and these opportunities may not have been available in the past.  For those looking to build a dating site these groups often provide a sensible focus.  Additionally, women have found that dating sites offer the mix of security and privacy that traditional ‘real world’ dating lacked.  For many years, double standards have often applied to men looking for dates and for women doing the same; with the latter suffering from negative cultural perceptions in most, if not all, cultures.  For women, online dating sites offer the privacy to find suitable partners but with the added security that the online world can provide.

Although there are many now in operation the opportunities to build a dating site remain widespread.  Catering to a world in which social connections can be surprisingly hard to make and focussing on groups for whom online dating offers practical solutions offers excellent opportunities.

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