Internet as means of social interaction

Since its discovery, the internet has significantly transformed the way people interact and socialize. The twenty first century in particular has seen a dynamic shift in the way people communicate and meet other people. Popular social and interaction sites such as facebook, youtube, twitter, hi5, Yahoo personals, MSN dating, MySpace, tagged and matchmaker among several other websites have created an environment that boosts human interaction through providing a platform or interface that simplifies interaction.

Apart from communication and meeting new people, the internet has also created a means to which single individuals willing to find a companion can meet. Match making services are a lucrative business available online and several couples have met through the internet and are contented with the outcome.

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Despite the ambiguity that is associated with the internet, testimonials from love seekers indicate that many individuals who have taken the risk of seeking a partner online have had rewarding long distance relationships. It is therefore imperative to understand the environment facilitated by the internet in order to comprehend the rate of success.

Blogs

Blogs are personalized web pages that allow individuals to communicate and have discussions over a given theme. Anyone can write a blog and this makes blogs diverse in substance and application especially in social interaction. The miscellany associated with blogs allows for diversification of portfolios as far as individuals are concerned (Boothman 1).

Blogs facilitate the flexibility needed to handle a large number of individuals with different interests. For instance, blogs will allow for the convergence of specific groups of individuals that share a common interest (Culbreth 44). In reference to the dating scene, blogs will make it possible for individuals with specific tastes and preferences to meet through their exclusive blogs (Thompson 3).

For example there are interracial dating blogs, blogs pertaining the dating for specific religions, professional singles blogs, over forty years dating blogs, same sex dating blogs, among others. Blogs are also highly regarded when an individual wishes to create their own profile for online social interaction.

A profile is a self assessment of an individual, with reference to gender, age, physical attributes, academic achievements, professional status, taste and preferences (Boothman 1). Profiles are used to identify who that individual is both in personality and physically and it may contain a photo of the person. Prospective partners will have to read a person’s profile so as to decide whether the person is more than likely to fulfill their specific needs (Thompson 1).

Websites

The late twentieth and the twenty first century has been a period of online dating explosion. The majority of the engagement websites have proven their success though several testimonials about couples who have met through internet dating services (Boothman 1).

Further analysis of these matches has revealed that most of these couples had been successful with long distance relationships over a sustained period of time before they met physically (Nixon 23). Match.com, one of the most successful online dating websites has been responsible for the highest number of weddings and engagements subsequent to online dating (Culbreth 61). For instance 56 billion first emails are sent per year whereas 12 couples get married or engaged on a daily basis due to Match.com.

In addition, users of match.com go on 6 million dates each year and out of every 1,369 dates, one date leads to marriage on Match.com (OPW 1). Match.com makes one million dollars a day from subscription revenues indicating the success rate of this website. EHarmony, a working partner to match.com recently released statistics that revealed the success rate of the company (OPW 1).

One hundred and eighteen couples get married or engaged each day and the website receives twelve thousand to fifteen thousand new users every day meaning there is a full audience turnover every 7 months (OPW 1). These websites have developed certain strategies to ensure that they remain ahead of the competition and stay on top of the online dating scene.

Even though the success of online dating is overwhelming, the online dating has had its difficulty. The first failure of online dating is the non committal approach people have towards internet dating (Culbreth 42). Most individuals do not take the online dating seriously and will often drop an online partner because the emotional attachment between them is not very strong regardless of the other person’s feelings (OPW 1).

Online dating provides an opportunity for cyber bullies and other forms of cyber criminals to pry on ignorant victims (Nixon 29). Online abuse through embarrassment and vulgar language is common, and victims can be heart broken especially if they felt attracted to a cyber criminal then got embarrassed.

Such examples are rampant and some criminals even go further to meet a victim personally in order to ham them. There is also a chance that one can alter their profile to appear as someone who they are not and this vagueness is dangerous and a perfect disguise for criminals (Nixon 31).

Such cases are always in the media, for instance the story on Sheryl Thompson of Atlanta in 2001. Ms Thompson had dated her online partner for almost two years before they met on March 21, 2001(Culbreth 72). They went on a date that evening and Sheryl was never seen again, only to de found murdered four days later.

However, the good outweigh the evil and several couples like the Gardeners of Chicago, Illinois, who met online at match.com. The youthful professionals dated long distance for over six months before they met physically. They are currently married with two children thanks to internet dating (Nixon 57).

Success strategies

The websites always make sure that before the new members’ profiles are presented in the singles room for public view, the individual and profile goes through a vetting process to make sure that the data availed is as truthful as possible (Renaldvo 1).The efficiency of the websites is further boosted by the use of Compatibility Analysis feature.

This feature helps members contact people with whom they are more likely to get positive reactions from (Culbreth 47). Members are advised to go for individuals who have a seventy-five to one hundred percent compatibility rate. The feature is however not to be used alone rather through a combination of information like profiles and personal interests (Thompson 2).

Members are encouraged to write to only the people they are interested in. Due to the number of profiles available on the websites, it is easy to write to many individuals.

Members are advised of the importance of thoroughly scrutinizing the profiles and only write to individuals who have a lot in common with the members. The use of the Active/Inactive feature is also another great way which has helped maintain the websites’ success rates. This feature is an indicator of whether a given member is currently willing and looking for a date or whether they are “inactive”.

When an individual is inactive, it means they are temporarily unavailable from the dating scene (Renaldvo 1). If the individual is inactive for a sustained period of time, it is more than likely they are in a transition period or they have found someone. This feature has added great value to the websites by allowing the elimination of the inactive ones so that only active members can fully engage (Nixon 19).

Although there are a great number of people who join dating websites every day, there are several other individuals who leave the dating websites due to a variety of reasons. Some leave because they have given up while others leave because they have found a partner they are comfortable with. What makes the match.com uniquely different is the encouragement they give to the members who may feel like giving up (Renaldvo 1).

Such individuals will receive encouragement emails from the administrators who seek to reassure them of the imminence of a life long companion. That is one of the great resolves these websites have over their competitors. The websites pride themselves in the number of marriages and engagements facilitated by the sites. It is therefore within their value system that every member that joins has to leave with a satisfactory partner (Boothman 1).

Conclusion

The introduction of the internet as a tool to make social interaction possible has without a doubt created a bridge that links the world. Individuals in any country in the world can date long distance for several months before they even have a conversation over the telephone.

The internet has also made it possible for individuals seeking a life partner to literally validate the available ones by looking at their profiles. Therefore, finding a suitable date over the internet has proved to be faster, easier and cost effective when compared to the physical dating.

Works Cited

Boothman, Nicholas. Internet Dating: Advantages, Disadvantages and Advice. June 2007. 17 Feb 2010 from: http://www.thirdage.com/dating/internet-dating-advantages-disadvantages-and-advice

Culbreth, Judsen. The Boomer’s Guide to Online Dating. New York: Rodale inc., 2007. Print.

Nixon, Cherry. Internet Dating. London: babani computer books, 2007. Print.

Online Personal Watch (OPW). “Match.com and eHarmony Success Rates published”. April 2009. 17 Feb 2010 from: http://www.onlinepersonalswatch.com/news/2009/06/matchcom-and-eharmony-success-rates-published.html

Renaldvo, Mike. Success Factors for Match.com. Intimacy journal. July 2009. 17 Feb 2010 from: http://intimacyjournal.com/blog/2009/03/17/success-factors-for-matchcom/

Thompson, Dorothy. Talking Books with Internet Dating Expert Cherie Burbach. Sept 2009. 17 Feb 2010 from: http://www.divinecaroline.com/49804/67508-talking-books-internet-dating-expert

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