We take the best academic papers and summarize them in plain English so you can improve your idating site, and help your users make better connections.
Title: Relationship Formation on the Internet: What's the Big Attraction?
Published In: Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 58, Number 1, 2002
Authors: Katelyn Y.A. McKenna, Amie S. Green and Marci E.J. Gleason, all of New York University
Full Report: http://sites.google.com/site/mestedu/relationshipformationontheinternet.pdf
Summary, In Plain English:
Summarized by Bradley R. Brenner, Ph.D., Psychologist and Relationship Therapist
Are relationships that start online any good and do they have staying power? To begin to tackle those questions the authors report on 3 studies that focused on the phenomenon of more freely expressing one’s true self when online, and what consequences that has for when moving acquaintanceships, friendships, and romantic relationships from cyberspace into the real world. The authors wanted to know whether personally meaningfully relationships can and are being developed online.
In study 1, the authors found that if a person tends to be more open and transparent about their true self in an online setting, then they are then likely to develop a deeper sense of connection and to do so at a faster rate. Also, the more open and honest that a person is about his or her true self, the more likely that they are to transition online relationships into the real world. This was usually accomplished over time though a successive series of communication methods that increasingly approximated real world interactions.
Study 2 examined the degree to which the acquaintanceships, friendships, and romantic relationships that were reported on in Study 1 endured over time. The authors found that 2 years later 75% of all types of relationships that had been initiated online were still intact. More specifically, 71% of romantic relationships were intact with 52% of people saying that the relationship had become closer and stronger over time.
Study 3 differs from studies 1 and 2 in that it used controlled, experimental methodology to examine the effect of Internet mediated interactions on liking someone. Participants who first met and interacted through a chat system and then later met in person liked each other more than those who only interacted in person.
Take Home Message In 2 Sentences:
Revealing aspects of one’s true self in online interactions leads to a deeper connection and quicker establishment of liking and fondness. The research underscores that the Internet is an effective conduit for real connection, and has powerful implications for the formation of liking someone.
Dr. Brenner: Based on this information, you should:
- Emphasize the power of meeting online and how it can transform the search for a relationship that is real, lasting and exceptional.
- Encourage expression of one’s real self among your members if lasting connections are what they truly seek.
- Offer members multiple methods of communication to ease transition into real world, face-to-face interactions.
- Educate members that inauthentic expression of one’s self will likely lead to frustration and disappointment.