The online dating community has become increasingly popular with society as the convenience of online communication becomes more accessible. With the rise of dating apps like Tinder as well as various other versions and concepts, it is not hard to see how the rise of this community has grown so quickly. According to Pew Research Center, more than 15% of adults can admit to have either used mobile dating apps or an online dating site at least once in the past. It is estimated that by 2040, 70% of us will have met our significant other online. Therefore demonstrating the revolution of our dating habits and styles and evolving the way we form and maintain relationships in adaption to this online world. Thus leading me to conduct my ethnographic research series on “How has the transition to online dating from traditional aspects of dating effected relationships?”. I aim to discover not only how will this transition and evolution of dating effect new and old relationships but I also want to gather the ‘why’. Why has this transition occurred, when did it start? It is easy to blame this transition to the convenience of online dating sites and society being lazy but through Mansoor’s quote, “People are doing whatever they can to increase their chances of finding love; they’re craving connection, they want it now and dating apps offer that instant reassurance,” My prediction is that maybe we are becoming more desperate and finding there is more social pressure to find love.
Before conducting my own personal ethnographic research practises, I needed to start with educating myself more on what consisted of what I will refer to as ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ day relationships. ‘The List’ provided a historical timeline from dating 100 years ago to more present day and outlines the influences occurring alongside these changes. The main difference to be conducted from these differing relationship standards including how we meet, who we meet, how many potential partners we can meet, and even how we communicate with each other. Modern day relationships are described to present the idea of more freedom however accessing technology also allows for dating to be more difficult, with less guidelines and more differing definitions of dating it ultimately can make the dating world more complicated and disheartening in some people’s eyes, but for other it can be seen as something empowering when there is a mutual respect and expectation defined between the two partners. Thus there are two varying views of online dating and its effects on relationships.
However, Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna conducted a study on how the rise of digital match-making has affected the nature of society. They describe society as “a web of interlinked nodes, where individuals are the node and the link describes how well they know one another”. Identifying that traditionally ‘loose ties’ were the key component in society meeting partners for example people were unlikely to date their best friend (considered a close tie) and more likely to date people who were linked with their group of friends; a friend of a friend. Ortega and Hergovich studies have shown that online dating changed that, online dating can successfully open up social links that are previously non-existent through the tendency of online dating to result in people meeting complete strangers, demonstrating a benefit of online dating as it opens users up to several new relationships at a time. Further research found that that marriages created in a society with online dating tend to be stronger as statistics have shown that couples who have met online have a lower percentage of marital breakups than couples who have met traditionally.
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Ortega, J. and Hergovich, P. (2017). The Strength of Absent Ties: Social Integration via Online Dating. SSRN Electronic Journal. [online] Available at: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1709.10478.pdf [Accessed 26 Oct. 2018].