Everyone dates, yet these sorts of studies are surprisingly few and far between.New York University Professor of sociology Eric Klinenberg, who teamed with comedian Aziz Ansari for the 2015 book told Digital Trends: “There’s just not a lot of research out there. It’s still not a major field in the social sciences.” What is out there, particularly dating back to the relative dark ages of online dating, is murky, often relying on surveys commissioned by the sites themselves.The extremely influential 2012 paper “Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary” by Michael J. Thomas of The City College of New York also notes that research into the internet’s impact on social dating norms was, in a word, lacking.
Maybe they grew up next door to each other or maybe their parents arranged the whole thing.
Maybe they met in an algebra class or a Jewish youth group.
At no point during the process did anyone pull a phone out of their pocket and swipe right.
But microprocessors evolve, products iterate, paradigms shift …
and the next thing you know, falling in love is forever changed.
Vox recently analyzed data from 35 years’ worth of wedding announcements in The New York Times, and found that “online” now ranks as the third most common way people meet — second only to “school” and “mutual friend.” In the older-than-40 age range, it creeps into the second spot. We already trust our computers to do our shopping and banking, why shouldn’t the fruits of the home computer revolution help us find love?
Even more remarkable than the speed with which such services became mainstream is our willingness to fess up: Maybe it wasn’t so much a meet cute as it was a photo swipe while sitting on the john. Online dating will be a billion industry in 2016, according to market research firm Ibisworld.
And the rise of the smartphone is only going to increase that adoption. How did matchmaker services make the transition from embarrassing, mullet-wearing, VHS tape services to the thing we do while waiting in line at Trader Joe’s?
And more important, when did it become OK to finally stop lying to our parents about how we met our significant others?