Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.
But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.
“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.
There’s just a disconnect between what social science says is actually possible, and what the sites say they can do,” said Slater.
A dating site is not a magic “fix” for your dating problems.
“If you don’t have a personality, it’s going to come across in an email, a phone call, or across a table,” said Larry K., 46, who met his wife on nine years ago.
Research suggests that, while it is possible to predict whether two people could enjoy spending time together in the short term, it’s (nearly) impossible to scientifically match two people for long-term compatibility.
The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can't predict and online profiles can't demonstrate.These sites can serve as a way to practice those skills and build up self-confidence, too.“[Sites like] Ok Cupid give people a mechanism to combat the anxiety of being single,” said Ana B., 24 of New York City.It only changes the process of discovery," says Mehr in Dan Slater's new book "Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating." (Slater notes that Mehr was the only dating exec he interviewed who felt this way.)It’s the efficiency of this “process of discovery” that’s appealing to many daters.“I guess maybe the promise of online dating is that it allows you to get out and have those experiences and make those mistakes and hopefully learn a lot from them,” said Slater. is to get [them] out there and get them to socialize.” Sure, you might encounter some horrific experiences — but hopefully you’ll learn from them and those lessons will benefit your search for a partner in the long run.“Even if I had married someone that I had met through a friend or whatever, online dating still would have been fun,” said Feifer.Miller agreed, saying: “And it accomplished what I wanted to do, which was go on a lot of dates."While online dating sites give people another tool to find potential mates, the dates themselves are not very different, other than maybe knowing a bit more about the other person before officially meeting.