By Therese Quiao>American University> Senior>Public Communication
It’s difficult to deny the growing importance of the World Wide Web. People can buy almost anything on the Internet¾ clothing, electronics, and even groceries, but can you find love? The commodification of love has been a growing trend in American society. The New York Times conducted a study showing that the recession provoked a surge in online dating, stating that Match.com increased by 40 percent.
“At a time when money is scarce or uncertain, when people are assessing their priorities, they don’t want to go through it alone,” said Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington. The fact is that no one wants to be lonely, and it’s getting harder to “meet” someone worthwhile. Love is a rare phenomenon and people are willing to pay to get a chance at it.
“Once, I posted an ad in the classifieds section of Craigslist for a confidence booster. I got back thousands of responses. I went on a couple of dates, but nothing really came out of it,” said Jamie Fields*, a junior at American University. Moral of the story? Craigslist probably isn’t the best place to find a relationship, but is excellent for finding a couch. There are still many options for people in the digital world.
For a monthly subscription, Match.com connects people with potential dating suitors in their local area. After taking a brief questionnaire about your personality and what you are looking for in a mate, Match.com does the work for you. This service also gives you the opportunity to use an instant messenger service to connect with matches.
Another popular dating website is E-Harmony.com. This site is more scientific because it connects individuals based on dimensions of personality, like character, communication style, and humor. It’s a private website because only your matches can see your profile and photographs. Additionally, communication is can be done through “guided tools,” where you can send your matches questions to answer about themselves.
Finally, for those that might be looking for something more casual, Match.com created a new free service called Stir.com. Stir is a forum where people can create a profile to discuss events and nightlife, while connecting with other singles in their local areas.
Online dating isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth taking the chance. The stigmatization against online dating has slowly dwindled over the years, and individuals are more willing to use it as a tool to weed out people that are not interested in a relationship.