A new study from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, released Monday, found that 59 percent of American Internet users believe that “online dating is a good way to meet people,” a 14-point jump since 2005.Among Americans who identify themselves as “single and looking,” 38 percent say they’ve used a dating site or app to try to meet a match.
They assume that we can just plug our metadata into a computer, run it through an algorithm, scroll through a list of prospects sorted by the mathematical possibility that we'll get along, and find someone.
That’s just not how human relationships work—not on the Internet and not off.
For socially weird or anxious or shy people, trying to meet a stranger in public is a nightmare, and even for someone charming and outgoing, it’s a grueling task that requires a lot of luck.
The alternative that often happens is meeting someone through friends, which can work, but it’s limiting yourself to single people your closest friends and family happen to know.
(Pew also found that 42 percent of female online daters and 17 percent of male ones have experienced “uncomfortable or bothersome contact” on Internet dating sites.) Tinder also lowers the barrier between checking someone out online and actually meeting him or her in real life; it's only showing you geographically optimal options, and its interface prioritizes short, flirty texts, not romantic dissertations, which can help preserve excitement and temper unreasonable expectations.
While some of the matching questions on places like Ok Cupid can tell you important things about a potential partner—does this person think abortion should be legal or believe that gay marriage should not?
But it fortunately means that the dudes and ladies you’re meeting through the app are representing themselves roughly similarly to how they’re doing so on more public forms of social media.
(Perhaps Zuckerberg was onto something with Facematch, the proto-Facebook that allowed Harvard students to check out potential hookups living in neighboring houses.) It helps that, in order to message someone on Tinder, you both have to “choose” each other, so you’re not inundated with missives from the creepiest users.
I’ve already expressed my argument for why in two posts: one on how critical it is to find the right life partner and how seriously we should take that quest, and another on why going to bars is a terrible life experience.