Online dating is becoming more socially acceptable, according to polling by Pew. While the organization found that about one-fifth of people think that using a dating Web site reveals desperation, that fraction had fallen since 2005, and a majority of people now believe that online dating allows the unattached to find partners who are better for them.
Yet respondents were even more likely to say that they felt they had encountered people who were seriously misrepresenting themselves in their digital dating profiles. Another study found that four-fifths of users lied about their weight, their height, or their age.
Those statistics, along with other available research on romance in the digital age, is compiled in the above chart by data scientists at the University of California, Berkeley.
The chart also cites a study in which researchers found that people who use online dating sites spend an average of 12 hours a week sitting at the computer and trying to get dates. An important caveat: The researchers asked the subjects to estimate the time themselves, rather than relying on site metrics. It’s possible that people spend even more time pursuing potential mates but were embarrassed to admit the truth to researchers. On the other hand, perhaps that figure reflects how much time they feel like they spend on the sites, rather than how much time they actually spend.
In any event, the Berkeley group seems to feel that these people are looking for love in all the wrong places. They suggest that the algorithms of sites such as OkCupid aren’t all that rigorous and that the nuances of personality that make for mutual attraction can’t be adequately conveyed by a digital profile.
Click below for Pew’s detailed survey on online dating.
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