As the amazing advances in telecommunications make instant communication ever easier, we are experiencing a strange paradox. Why is it that we are more able to communicate with people on a mass level, but have a harder and harder time communicating on a personal level? As websites like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace become more and more ubiquitous, we tend to have fewer and fewer meaningful personal relationships, and have a harder time connecting with people. Surely there has to be some sort of solution.
In his famous 1995 essay “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital,” Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam described the loss in social connections (or “capital”) that we have experienced over the past fifty years as a result of more and more walls we have built up to keep the outside at bay. Ironically, increased communications are one of these issues. As people have become more and more able to pick and choose the conversations and relationships they have on a daily basis, they become, strangely, less likely to have wide-ranging social networks.
Because it’s become more and more difficult to meet potential love interests in this environment, a new trend has emerged over the past fifteen years. Internet dating has gone from being seen as a venue for Star Trek fans to find love and has become a successful tool for meeting people with similar interests and goals. The industry makes over $ 500 million a year, which is definitely a sign of its legitimacy.
Sites like Match.com and eHarmony advertise themselves on helping you find someone who is matched with you along levels deeper than those you’d be able to find yourself. They serve as an internet-era form of matchmaker, sort of like a Dolly Levi for the 2000s. The idea is to find a long-term match with the help of experts.
Another popular take on the internet dating site are niche sites that cater to people looking for matches based on ethnicity, religion, or orientation. There are sites that cater to Jewish people looking for relationships, Christians hoping to meet Christians, or people looking for even divorcees looking for other divorcees. It can open doors for people who have a smaller dating pool by making it easier for them to meet people who share their interests and life story.
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