People who date online have many stories to tell. Some of them are funny experiences, and some others warn us to be cautious online. Studies have shown that about 5% of people find the ‘love of their lives’ on online platforms that have led to a long-term relationship or marriage. On the other hand, one-third of the people who use online dating platforms never actually go on a date or meet the person offline.
Post 2005, there has been a tremendous boost in our digital and smartphone usage to socialise for a romantic purpose, or otherwise. We are constantly trying to find people with common interests, and today there seems to be no better way to do it than to pull out our smartphones.
However, internet dating, like all other services, comes with its pros and cons.
Pros of online dating:
Building A Profile: An online platform lets a person build their profile the way they want it. One can choose to upload a picture they like, or have no picture at all. One can assess another person’s profile; and if interests match, can choose to start a conversation. If not, the other person will never know that their profile was viewed.
More Straight Forward: The intent and purpose of creating a dating profile can be made clear right at the start. For instance, some people look for a romantic relationship, while some others might want to hook-up, or might simply want to be friends. Stating the intent makes a conversation less awkward or uncertain.
Accessibility and Convenience: Online platforms are available 24/7 and can be accessed from any location. Further, one can set filters and preferences based on their orientation and life style. This lets them avoid sifting through millions of profiles, thus speeding their search for a suitable partner.
Safety: On an online platform, one invests less time and energy in finding out about a person as it is computer-mediated and this allows for a safe communication. In the event of anything unpleasant, most platforms have a ‘report abuse’ and a ‘block’ option which halts all communication immediately.
Studies show that one out of five relationships start online. Thus, online platforms have good success rates.
Cons of online dating:
Fake Profiles: Profiles can be misleading or can even be a complete lie. However precautious one might be, encountering fake profiles on platforms online have become inevitable. Reported cases show us that fake profiles can even be created to stalk and track a person’s life and habits.
Anti-social: Research suggests that online platforms deskill us further from not knowing how to build relationships or develop social skills. With the growth of online dating platforms, people with social anxieties are finding lesser offline platforms to overcome their anxieties, making them less confident about themselves in public dating spaces.
Monotonous: Interacting on online platforms might take away from the ‘spark’ that meeting someone at a bar or any other offline space has. It makes dating a mechanical process and some people might not find it as exciting. In fact, studies show that about 23% of Americans think that online dating platforms are for people who are ‘desperate’.
Pressure to be Accepted: To create a profile means to define oneself or brand oneself in a certain way. This might pressurize a person to create a profile in order to be accepted, and the person might end up creating a misleading profile of themselves. This also discourages the process of finding out about each other with considerable thought and time.
Too many choices might make it seem like one is ‘browsing’ for a partner. This can be exhausting and one can over-look someone who might have otherwise been suitable. Online dating might also feel like a personality test, giving it an unemotional quality.
Online dating platforms must be viewed as service-providers. They are simply a way to make socializing an easier process, and one must be cautious to not reveal too much on any online platform.
When a person registers on a dating platform, he or she gets an idea of the kind of partner that they might find suitable. As the online dating expert Julle Spira writes, there is no one-size fits all formula. Online platforms might not always assure long-term marriage or relationships. However, they are a convenient and accessible platform that helps a person sow a seed to a relationship that might or might not grow offline.