Percentage of singles using online dating
In fact, by several measures, online dating has proved even more useful — both to individuals and society — than the traditional avenues it has replaced.
I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.
"And mostly they're pretty unfounded." Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.
They are important today — roughly one of every four straight couples now meet on the Internet.
Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.In a 2012 paper, I wrote about how among heterosexuals, the people who are most likely to use online dating are the middle-aged folks, because they’re the ones in the thinnest dating market.It makes it easier for someone who is looking for something very specific in a partner to find what they are looking for.It also helps the people who use the apps by allowing them to enjoy a pattern of regular hookups that don’t have to lead to relationships.Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?