A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals: Meeting and Dating Online Comes of Age
46 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 14, 2011
This paper reports on an analysis of original data from a cross-national survey in 17 countries of couples and their social relationships. The survey focused on cohabiting couples, who have the Internet at home. Each member of each couple was asked how they met their partners, what dating strategies they used before they met, how they maintain their current relationships and social networks, and how these individuals use the Internet in everyday life and work. The survey was conducted online, using a professional pool of respondents to draw our samples. There is wide variety across the world and within nations, such as in approaches to online relationships, to friendships, and to the Internet. However, several general patterns are clear. First, slightly over a third of the sample has some experience with online dating, while 15 percent are currently in a relationship that started online. Beginning in 1997, coinciding with the rise of Web 2.0 technologies, online dating starts to gain prominence. This rise in prominence continues until 2009, when over 30% of Internet-enabled couples appear to have met through online dating. A similar growing prominence of the Internet is also occurring around the maintenance of relationships, and the development of social relations more generally. In these and other ways, it is clear that the Internet has become a new place to look for relationships, and that the Internet is important for strong as well as weak ties within social networks.
Keywords: Internet, Social Relationships, Dating, Meeting, Networked Individuals
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