Dating in the Digital Age

Back home in Sri Lanka, every Sunday the Newspapers prints marriage proposals written by either parents looking to find their children a partner or sometimes they are even written by singles themselves- its actually a pretty hilarious read. When you think about it, its a very outdated concept because the days when lonely singles would desperately search the personal ads in the newspapers, slowly but surely losing all hope for finding ‘true love’, seem to be coming to an end. The rise of the internet and the ‘normalisation’ of online dating has opened new doors for singles and brings them one step closer to finding their soulmate.

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Excerpts of marriage proposals that appear in Sri Lankan Newspapers

As the internet continues to become more and more integrated into our everyday lives, it really comes as no surprise that people are flocking online to find their romantic partners. DeMasi makes an interesting point about the rise of online dating by stating that;


“Today the internet is used to do practically everything from reading the newspaper, paying bills, buying a home, searching for a job, taking educational courses and purchasing consumer items. Finding a partner through the internet represents just one more of the many activities that the technology enables.” (DeMasi, 2011, pp. 207).


In light of this, online dating sites have capitalised on this growing demand and created a plethora of websites that caters to different types of people and communities. The aim of this is to make dating easier for singles by allowing them to find people who share the same interests or are going through the same problems as themselves. generally on one of these sites, individuals are asked to fill in a questionnaire which amongst other things contains the characteristics, age, race, and sexual orientation that you prefer, and then based on their answers, the site, using a specific algorithm, calculates the results and eventually find people their perfect match based on the answers that were provided.

Online dating certainly makes it easier and for singles to form relationships, traditionally finding a compatible partner takes some time. Firstly, a partner must be found by looking around places like work, school and social circles (this is already quite limiting when you think about it) and then time needs to be spent courting and getting to know the other person before a real relationship can develop. Online dating successfully eliminates this step as the website does all this work for you by finding matches that ensure compatibility.

While this all seems efficient, the question comes to mind whether dating someone who has practically the same personality as you will eventually take the excitement that comes out of dating in the first place. With people being matched according to their preferred interests and personality traits, it discourages people to expand their horizons and experience different things.

Personally, as with most things, I believe there are both positive and negative effects of online dating. The rise of internet dating represents an interesting shift in the ways in which people are finding love in today’s society. The negative effect of this, besides the vast amount of internet trollers that are out there (and there are quite a few), is that maybe its causing people to remain within their comfort zones and not really venture out in terms of finding partners that maybe see the world in different ways than they do.

References

  • DeMasi, S 2011, ‘Shopping for love: online dating and the making of a cyber culture of romance’, in Seidman, S, Fischer, N and Meeks, C (eds.), Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, pp. 206-13
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