The BriefGet Up To Speed
Every day millions of people turn to dating apps to find love. To date, more than 49 million Americans have given digital dating a try and the companies facilitating these matches are raking in billions. But are dating apps really designed to promote long-lasting romance? Apps like Tinder and Bumble make finding a date as easy as swiping right, while digital platforms like Match.com and OkCupid use specialized algorithms to help users find the perfect partner, regardless of age or personal preferences. Further, a range of niche sites connect people with highly specific interests, whether it’s single parenthood, a gluten-free lifestyle, or a devotion to Ayn Rand. But some argue that online dating is rife with sexism, racism, and misogyny, and that dating apps ultimately create a culture that prioritizes sex over committed and lasting love. After all, why settle on one match when there may be someone better just a swipe away?View Debate Page
- Sociologist & Co-Author, Modern Romance
“Scientists working with Match.com found that the kind of partner people said they wanted often didn’t match up with what they were actually interested in. People filter too much; they’d be better off vetting dates in person.”
Eric Klinenberg advises on how to pick the perfect dating profile picture for men and women.
Living alone doesn't necessary mean you are alone. Eric Klinenberg gives a talk on his book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.
Eric Klinenberg joins a panel to discuss love and sex in the time of "swipe right" dating apps.
Eric Klinenberg discusses online dating and how having too many options can prevent you from finding long-term love.
Eric Klinenberg discusses dating in the digital age and the best way to find love online.
- Host and Managing Editor, Note to Self
Manoush Zomorodi delves into the science of spacing out and how technology can consume all of our free time.
Manoush Zomorodi discusses how being bored leads to great ideas at TED2017.
“In the age of Tinder—the behemoth dating app whose success in 2016 is measured to the tune of 1.4 billion swipes a day rather than soul mates—I’m not optimistic.”
“Online dating has given us a lot of new ways to get dumped.”
“Even algorithms have a margin for error.”
- Biological Anthropologist, Best-Selling Author & Chief Scientific Adviser, Match.com
Fisher argues, “Millennials are diligently using technology to find love—and building new dating rules and taboos along the way.”
Helen Fisher argues, “Many believe that Internet dating is irrevocably changing relationships. I don't agree. Today, 33% of singles met their latest first date through the Internet; 37% of relationships start online, as do 20% of marriages.”
“Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love -- and people who had just been dumped.”
“What does it mean to have chemistry? Helen Fisher dives into the subject of love, hormones and how the two correlate.”
Helen Fisher discusses the 2017 Singles in America survey results, which studied relationship trends, changing gender roles, and social taboos.
"Online dating is much more natural than walking up to a stranger in a bar, says Helen Fisher."
Helen Fisher argues, “The vast majority of people on the internet, even on Tinder, are looking for a long-term committed relationship … Marriage used to be the beginning of a relationship, now it’s the finale.”
"We're seeing new rules and taboos for how to court. But, you know -- is this actually dramatically changing love? What about the late 1940s, when the automobile became very popular and we suddenly had rolling bedrooms?"
Q&A with Daniel Jones
“The [Modern Love] submissions are a time capsule of what’s happening in relationships and how they’re changing.
“It’s hard; I mean love has always been hard, but we have so many tools now to put up walls and it’s ironic because while the tools are about being able to communicate, they can also serve as this sort of shield between you and your true self.”
“Preconceived notions about romantic compatibility can box you in.”
“It has been remarkable to watch the evolution in stories I have received from gay and lesbian writers.”
Daniel Jones lets us know the four things he’s learned about love from editing the “Modern Love” column.
Jones discusses the “Modern Love” column and his book, Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject (With the Help of 50,000 Strangers).
Jones discusses “Modern Love” in the digital era.
The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column, edited by Daniel Jones
“One thing is certain: the tenacity with which human beings will seek each other out with any tool available is inspiring.”
“It was, of course, inevitable that the activities involved in online dating would migrate from desktop and laptop computers to mobile devices.”
The pros and cons of several dating apps – including Match.com, Tinder, eHarmony, PlentyofFish, Happn, Bumble and OkCupid – are highlighted.
“In the 18 months [Andrew] Conru ran the site, he said there were 120,000 sign ups.”
An important glossary for those swiping left and right in 2018.
For The Motion
“There’s another reason Web-enabled singles are rendering traditional dates obsolete. If the purpose of the first date was to learn about someone’s background, education, politics and cultural tastes, Google and Facebook have taken care of that.”
“Dating apps do not seem like an efficient way to produce relationships. They are an efficient way to move through your options.”
"Online dating creates a shopping mentality, and that is probably not a particularly good way to go about choosing a mate."
“The problem with a lot of online dating applications is that they don’t really work. Many are just ‘fad’ applications that squeeze money from punters with no intention of matching you with a suitable partner.”
“There's a scientific reason that modern dating can feel so exasperating. We have so many choices that we can't feel satisfied about our choices — or choose at all.”
The rise in STDs is linked to the rise in dating apps, and “many of the major dating networks don’t want to be involved in STD prevention, nor have they acknowledged the impact they’re having on public health.”
Against The Motion
“If you look at the couples who stay together, about half of the couples who meet through online dating have transitioned to marriage by year four of the relationship. If you look at people who didn’t meet through online dating, the time frame is much longer — half of those couples transition to marriage by year 10 of the relationship.”
“Before online dating, meeting someone outside your social circle or local community was a challenge. The majority of couples had met in their young years either at school or at a local event for their communities.”
“Our model predicts that, on average, marriages created when online dating becomes available last longer than those created in societies without this technology.”
“In the digital age, technology isn't killing courtship. But for many young couples, it's redefining what romance looks like.”
The Business of Love
“Online dating is a big market. Here in the U.S., the industry generates approximately $2 billion in revenue each year and expanded at an annual rate of 5% between 2010 and 2015.”
“In terms of revenue, the online-dating industry has matured, but there are too many players and not a lot are generating sufficient revenue for these sites.”
“But now everyone wants a piece of the matchmaking pie, with over 1500 online dating sites competing in the USA alone.”
Polls & Stats
“5% of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met their significant other online.”
“Usage by 18- to 24-year-olds has increased nearly threefold since 2013, while usage by 55- to 64-year-olds has doubled.”
“Tinder says 80% of its users ‘are seeking a meaningful relationship,’ which results in 1.5 million dates each week.”
Match CEO Sam Yagan argues, “I would say the larger the pool you have to select from, the more likely you are to find the most compatible person for you, if you have the right algorithms working on your behalf.”
“The research suggests that so-called ‘matching algorithms’ are only negligibly better at matching people than random chance.”
Race, Gender & Dating Apps
“Offenders have adapted to the parameters and conventions of online dating: The NCA report notes that online dating has ‘produced a new type of sexual offender’ who is less likely to have prior criminal convictions. Instead, these offenders ‘exploit the ease of access and arm-chair approach to dating websites.’"
“The fact is, though, that while it’s convenient to blame technology we don’t fully understand for misogynistic and predatory behaviour, these apps are quite simply new platforms for very old attitudes.”
“While some dating apps have developed something of a negative reputation for their emphasis on no strings attached sexual encounters, it’s not quite so black and white.”
OK Cupid co-founder Christian Rudder argues, “Black users, especially, there's a bias against them. Every kind of way you can measure their success on a site — how people rate them, how often they reply to their messages, how many messages they get — that's all reduced.”
“According to data from the dating site OkCupid, 82 percent of non-black men on the site have some bias against black women, and of the men on the site, Asian men receive the fewest messages.”
"While investigating sexual racism, Jessica Williams and Ronny Chieng learn about discrimination against black women and Asian men."
“So where is this all going to go? What happens after you’ve come of age in the age of Tinder? Will people ever be satisfied with a sexual or even emotional commitment to one person? And does that matter? Can men and women ever find true intimacy in a world where communication is mediated by screens; or trust, when they know their partner has an array of other, easily accessible options?”
“Today, online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular.”
Niche Dating Sites
Don’t worry, there are dating sites for clowns, farmers, goths and golfers.
“All these niche dating sites are taking their toll on Match’s portfolio, which includes Tinder, Plenty of Fish, How About We and OkCupid.”
"There is, of course, nothing wrong with dating someone who checks the same boxes as you do. But by drastically reducing the pool of potential matches, you’re not only hurting yourself, you’re ruining online dating for those of us who want to keep our options open."
“In rapidly developing India, the process of finding love is in the midst of a revolution. Spurred by apps such as Tinder, Woo and TrulyMadly, the old tradition of arranged marriage is giving way to a new, westernised style of dating, where growing numbers of people are choosing to date for fun, without the end goal of marriage.”
“Jiayuan and Baihe, China’s most popular dating sites, had around 126 million and 85 million registered users in 2015 respectively (Tinder had about 50 million active users in 2014). In contrast to a slew of popular dating apps in the West that are commonly associated with a casual ‘hook-up’ dating culture, Chinese online dating services are typically used by those in search of lasting connections and relationships — although this gradually may be changing.”
The Future of Online Dating
Sean Rad stated that daters “could use augmented reality to send out virtual coloured signals to strangers walking past them on the street. This would allow you to know their relationship status without so much as talking to them.”
“When someone swabs their cheek with a Pheramor kit, the lab Mirza and Barreto work with isolates and scans 11 genes, which scientists have linked to factors for attraction.”
“Whatever you think about online dating, one thing’s for sure, as the older generation embraces it, the business will only get bigger!”