From the start of online dating in the 1990’s, dating has evolved to not being limited to people who surround each other (Cali, Coleman, Campbell 1). With virtual dating, the “fish in the sea” has no end. Singles can access dating sites from personal computers and even on smartphones. Not only that, but individuals can choose from numerous sites to find their interest group in which to date from. Whether you’re a vegan or a millionaire, there’s a dating site for it!
In the beginning of online dating, people judged those who used the new kind of dating. Opinions were that “online daters [were] shy, anxious, incapable of maintaining ‘‘normal’’ interpersonal interactions, or interested primarily in sexual activity” (Cali, Coleman, Campbell 1). Few people thought that “normal” singles would use online dating. After all, “online daters [were] perceived as desperate, using the Internet as a ‘‘last resort’’ for finding relationships because more traditional social interaction failed for them” (Cali, Coleman, Campbell 1). This kind of attitude hurt public opinion, but today online dating is becoming more of a “norm”. According to Pew Research, 15% of American adults have used online dating, a large change to something that once was deemed “strange” (Smith & Anderson par 1).
There have been many success stories from online dating. One of them that I was able to interview is Tim Hedrick. Hedrick was almost 40, divorced, with kids, and focused on a career. His brother secretly created him an account, with a few twists. His Match.com profile said he was 30 years old, had no childrean, and was a corporate executive. With his “fake” profile, the number of women interested in him spiked. When Hedrick discovered the profile his brother made for him, he changed his information to be accurate and the number of interested women declined. A little later he realized that he wanted someone with similar regilious beliefs to his and he set up a BigChurch.com (now known as ChristianMingle.com) account. We met a woman named Eliza on the site and flew out to Texas to meet her. Down the road they married and have been together for almost 9 years. Hedrick acknowledged that in online dating there are a lot more options and opportunities to meet people. It’s not just limited to where you live (Tim Hedrick).
Dawn Heimlich is another individual who also found success in dating online. She had been divorced for 10 years and decided it was time for her to try to find a man. Heimlich had previously tried Match.com, but for similar reasons like Hedrick, she decided to use ChristianMingle.com. At first, she only wanted to date men that lived nearby. She went on two dates in a matter of days. The first date was from Gilbert, AZ and he was “a bit boring”. Her second date though, from Glendale was with a man named Errol. The two of them hit it off really well and got married three years later (Dawn Heimlich).
Unfortunately, sometimes online dating doesn’t give everyone an equal chance. In reality, most people meet someone and talk to them first and make a first impression. This can be lost if the interaction is not face-to-face. A popular app called Tinder, uses profile pictures and different swipes to match people who may connect well with each other. A “swipe” might not be giving everyone an equal chance. There is a lot of bias involved in this. Studies show that “faces were more likely to be judged attractive when they followed other attractive faces” (Hutson par 2). This is caused by two things. First, we have a “response bias”, which means that we are likely to hit the same key multiple times (in this case swipe the same way). The second reason is called the “perceptual effect”. This effect occurs when you can only view something for a short time. So people might only glance at a profile and label the individual as “attractive”, due to the short time they view the photo (Hutson par 2).
Online dating is becoming more and more acceptable than it was in the 90’s. Singles are expanding the dating scene and reaching out to those that may live far away. Virtual sites and having success and helping singles find each other and find true love. Whether “the one” lives in your same city or out of the country, online dating can help you find your soulmate.
Cali, Billie E., Jill M. Coleman, and Catherine Campbell. “Stranger Danger? Women’s Self-Protection Intent And The Continuing Stigma Of Online Dating.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 16.12 (2013): 853-857. Academic Search Premier. Web. 27 Nov. 2016.
Hedrick, Tim. Personal interview. 12 Dec. 2016.
Heimlich, Dawn. Personal interview. 1 Dec. 2016.
Hutson, Matthew. “The Follies Of Speed Swiping.” Scientific American
Mind 27.4 (2016): 9. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection. Web.
2 Nov. 2016.
Smith, Aaron, and Anderson, Monica. “5 Facts About Online Dating.” www.PewResearch.org. Pew Research Center. 29 Feb, 2016 <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/>