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: Me, My Spouse and the Internet. A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals: Meeting and Dating Online comes of Age
Authors: Bernie Hogan, Nai Li and William H. Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute
Full Report: http://blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk/couples/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Me-MySpouse_GlobalReport_HoganLiDutton.pdf
Summary, In Plain English:
Summarized by Tom Lalor, Dating and Lifestyle Coach
This paper is part of the ‘Me, My Spouse and the Internet Project’ which is collaboration between the Oxford Internet Institute and eHarmony Labs.
The study found that the percentage of couples that met through online dating is rising steadily, to the extent that in 2009 over 30% of Internet enabled couples met online.
The report also dispels a common belief that Internet dating is for young people. For relationships that have started since online dating became popular, the survey shows that older people are more likely than young people to have met their current partner online.
The prevalence of Internet connections also appears to affect the percentage of people that find relationships online. Where a country has low rates of Internet connectivity it appears that a lower percentage of relationships are formed online, even among the people who are connected. This may imply that a critical mass of people is required for online dating to become more popular.
Once exposed to online dating, people view it more positively, regardless of whether they were successful or not. This includes knowing someone who uses online dating. Being successful with online dating only reinforces that positive view.
With singles having a repertoire of ways to meet new people, they are increasingly viewing meeting a partner as a deliberate activity to engage in, rather that leaving things to chance, and this includes online dating.
The rise of online dating hasn’t meant the end of more traditional ways of meeting people. Instead, online dating is seen as complimentary to meeting people through more traditional ways. To this effect, social network sites are also increasingly being included in the repertoire of ways to meet people.
Depending on the country, over half of the relationships that started online were not through online dating but through social network sites/chat rooms etc. This is particularly the case in countries where social network sites are prevalent, i.e., where real names and face photos are generally used.
Tom Lalor: Based on this information, you should:
- Be aware of the market for older people. While young people are generally the ones looking for relationships, there is a growing pool of older people using online dating.
- Encourage potential customers to sample your site, and encourage existing users to recommend it to friends.
- Be aware of the increasing role that social network sites are playing when it comes to online dating, and attempt to leverage off this where possible.
- Consider positioning your brand as more of an adjunct to a busy person’s life, rather than the ‘one and only’ place to find love online.