Even for those of us who are old enough to have memories of a time before the internet, it's sometimes hard to really remember what life was like before we all were walking around with supercomputers in our pockets. Take datingfor instance. Twenty years ago no one met online.
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These days one third of marriages start with a few clicks or a swipe. Because that change seems entirely natural to us now, it's easy to forget how big a shift this represents.
And even easier to forget to wonder how it's changed things when it comes to romantic relationships. Thankfully, a pair of international researchers, Josue Ortega of the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich of the University of Vienna, are on the case.
As the MIT Technology Review recently reported the pair have been busy hypothesizing about how the rise of online dating might affect society and then comparing these predictions to real-world data. In the old days, most people met their partner through friends of friends or acquaintances.
You ended up marrying your best friend's cousin or your golf buddy's wife's friend. These days, thanks to technology, many more of us end up paired up with people who were perfect strangers before some algorithm brought them to our attention. One knock-on effect of this is increasing rates of interracial marriage, the researchers suspect.
We are much less likely to travel in the same circles with people of very different backgrounds than we are to meet such folks online, after all.
So more online pairings should lead to an increase in marriages between very different people. The data seem to back this up.
Then again, inthe number of interracial marriages jumped again. Wildly popular and very random dating app Tinder.
Though the article goes into less detail on why this might be so, Ortega and Hergovich's models also predict that the strength of marriages should go up in a world where a great many people meet online perhaps because we have a wider pool of possible partners to choose from?
This too jives with observed reality.
That has the potential to significantly benefit society. While this research is obviously in its early stages and it's far too early to say anything definitive about the total effect of online dating on society, these initial findings are a happy dose of optimism at a time when many negative, unintended consequences of the tech revolution are coming to the fore.
According to online dating statistics they could be married we can probably expect further increases in the percentage of married couples. Online dating does represent the convenience of being able to meet others that you or marriage, suggest that they did in fact meet their significant other online. Online dating is affecting how same-sex couples meet, and how long The rise of internet dating services could be behind stronger marriages.