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Online Dating Essay

2813 words - 12 pages

RESEARCH ARTICLE
An investigation on the specific causes which weaken online dating websites’ efficiency
Weiyi Zhang
University Bridge Writing

Introduction
Since online dating started 20 years ago, it has developed into a mature industry. In the U.S, over forty million citizens have memberships to online dating websites; however, less than half of online dating users have turned virtual dates into real ones. Even more surprisingly, after the last decade’s rapid growth, the proportion still is not as high as people imagine. In 2005, two-thirds of online dating website members never had a face-to-face date with their virtual romantic interests. Moreover, some experimenters from Stanford ...view middle of the document...

Basically, any romantic relationship mediated by the internet can be named online dating. However, with the technological capabilities of the internet becoming more diverse, more kinds of online dating have been provided, with their own specific purposes, users and sociological characters. Since this article only focuses on one form, which is called online dating website, it is very significant to distinguish the definition of online dating websites from other models of mediated relationship management. Based on the timeline of technology and transition of dating strategies, according to Kirsty Best and Sharon Delmege (2009), online dating sites can be defined with four different dimensions, which are immersion, dating specificity, interactants and interaction. Since online dating sites first appeared in 1995 with the technology of web browsers, they can be defined as some advertising dating specific sites with unknown interactants and high-interaction, using technologies which are more advanced than Web browsers.
Literature review
Literature regarding online dating stems from psychology, sociology and marketing theory. Literature reviewing specifically at online dating websites tends to follow theories which investigate the relationship between some specific factors and online dating efficiency. Summed up from some previous articles, three main causes present themselves: online safety, “overmuch” dating options and “over detailed” profiles.
According to professor Kirsty Best and doctor Sharon Delmege (2009), the “overmuch” options have two-sided potential social impact. They can not only accelerate the process that users try to meet their Mr. or Mrs. Right, but also elicit some ramifications, such as users might being annoyed by the shopping culture which is created by those options. Additionally,
Pai-Lu Wu and Wen-Bin Chiou (2009) claimed:
However, this research demonstrated that more options triggered more searching and decreased choice quality. More options triggered additional searches, thus partially undoing the effort-saving benefit of search tools. This finding was congruent with those in prior research. As already argued, large consideration sets lead to less selective processing and reduce searchers’ ability to screen out inferior options. From the perspective of cognitive processing, considering a large set of options may increase cognitive load, leading individuals to make mistakes. (p.318)
Finally, some other articles talked about online dating safety, such as that “The responsibility to date safely falls on the dater, not the dating site. Your safety is not a top priority for dating websites” (Baker, 2002).
Discussion
User experiences of online dating websites are always considered mixed. Some users claim that they have wonderful experiences with online dating which end in satisfactory marriages. Others’ experiences are somehow filled with frustration and depression. Therefore, like any other dating rituals, online...

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