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What surprised Hall even more, however, was that the social networking-based relationships were happier than those that began offline, in traditional ways such as being introduced by mutual friends.
“I was surprised by a lot of these results,” he says.
“I think that social networking is the digital version of being introduced by friends.” For most of the 20th century, friend-based introductions were the primary way people met their spouse, he says, and social networks may simply be an extension of that pattern.
That could also explain why marriages that began on social networking sites were also no more likely to end in divorce than unions that were generated by online dating sites that involve algorithms and strangers trying to match people together, rather than acquaintances who know their friends’ likes and dislikes and personality best.
The sample included 19,131 participants who had been married once between 20, and were asked where they met – was it online dating sites; email or instant messaging; online communities such as chat rooms or virtual reality games; or social networking sites.
As for the current online dating options—they strike me as a good first crack at this by humanity, but the kind of thing we’ll significantly improve on to the point where the way it was done in 2014 will seem highly outdated in not too many years.
Now that the stigma has diminished, you know this industry is going to race ahead because there’s so much money to be made by whoever can be innovative.
But is this a positive development or something to be concerned about?
Is online dating making the world better and dating more effective, or is something important being lost or sacrificed as a result?