The Algorithm of Love

10 Feb

1 out of 5 relationships now begin from an online dating website (Match.com). However, as someone raised by somewhat traditional parents, online dating websites puzzle me. I have always questioned the idea of “meeting” someone online, trusting them enough to meet them in person, and then potentially creating a meaningful relationship with them. Yet I’ve heard so many stories from friends and family of online dating success stories. Parents met on Match, a work manager found their boyfriend on OkCupid, or a best friend is engaged to a woman he found on eHarmony.

How do these online dating websites work? How do a few sets of questions allow a computer to match you with your soul mate? Have these online Cupids managed to discover the algorithm of love? To sum all of these questions into one: Do online dating sites really have the potential to create and maintain long-term meaningful relationships?

Over the next couple of months, I will try to discover the answers to these questions. I will be interviewing men and women between the ages of 18 and 25 to learn about their reactions to and results from online dating. Some of the questions will include what their end goal was, if they felt they were able to effectively filter through people online, and if they felt any differences in their relationships with people they met in person versus people they met online.

I will also be examining the research already performed on online dating and those who use it. Several studies have conducted research into deceptive self-presentation in online dating. Other surveys look closely into why dating websites ask the kinds of questions they ask. Another important area to look into is who uses online dating. What common characteristics do these people have that possibly affect whether relationships cultivated online will last?

The online dating world is larger and more rapidly growing than most people think. Online dating is the third most popular way for singles to meet, after school or work and family or friends. While many people know about larger and more popular dating websites such as Match or eHarmony, there are hundreds of others that cater to specific demographics. Positivesingles.com is for singles that have tested positive for STDs and Prescription4Love.com is one for singles with special conditions such as Crohn’s Disease. Since this billion dollar industry is continuously growing, it is important to know about the types of relationships fostered on them.

Andrews, Lawrence. “Benefits of Online Dating Services.” Ladies Treat. 17 April 2012. Web. 19 April 2012. <http://www.ladiestreat.com/?p=1123&gt;.

Match.com. 2012. Web. 9 February 2012. <http://www.match.com&gt;.

2 Responses to “The Algorithm of Love”

  1. unconventional one February 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    i know your dad well and have spent ample time with him to assure you that he is all but traditional. Having said that, i do like the premise of your blog and the multifaceted research you are aiming for. “may the force be with you” and if you do not find it in real life, seek it in the digital dimension.

    • elenibakst April 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Thanks, Unconventional One. I think it should be a really interesting experience and I’m excited to get going!

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