Friday, March 10, 2006

Jury Still Out on Online Dating...

Three publications. Three headlines. Stay tuned for the kicker... Online Daters Report Mostly Positive Connections (USA TODAY) Online Dating Common, But Safety a Concern (i-Newswire) Most Americans Think Online Dating is Dangerous (Linux Electrons) ...the aforementioned kicker? All three articles are based on the same new Pew Internet study about online dating. Which, just for the record, is titled: "Americans who are seeking romance use the internet to help them in their search, but there is still widespread concern about the safety of online dating." (Snappy title. Take a hint from Fiona Apple, and title the study "Americans Who Are...") Which makes me think that "news about the online dating industry" is a lot more like tofu than we thought, picking up the flavor of whatever spices it's cooked with, but independently and on a molecular/flavoral level, inherently pareve. But like I said, this no longer affects me. I'm done. Again. For now.

8 comments:

ptwelve said...

I don't think they mean safety, in the sense of meeting people who will gun you down or stalk you. I think they mean the general unease and potential embarrassment of strangers knowing who you are.

Unless we are talking about the rare criminal type who uses online dating as a tool/weapon, guys on online dating services are not aggressive predators. They are timid and passive. Once you meet, there is a minimal chance they will ever employ your phone number again. Worries that these guys will be "coming after you to git you" are truly unwarranted.

VJ said...

That was my immediate reaction, all these positions are NOT mutually exclusive, they can and will be held by the same people. People can be very ambivalent even about things they use or consider daily. I still think that for many purposes, CL is still the service to beat. And it's free. It's always worth a try. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

PepGiraffe said...

Yeah, what VJ said. Except that I disagree with ptwelve. I bet they do mean safety in the sense of meeting someone who is going to hurt you. This doesn't have to be something that happens a lot, just what people are afraid might happen.

Shaun Eli said...

People's perception of danger is often quite different from their actual risks. I worked with a guy who kept a gas mask in his desk in case of fire (the building was modern and had a sprinkler system) but he smoked cigarettes. Which was the greater danger to his safety? There are people who complain about additives in baby food but don't always put their kid in a car seat.

In a way you're a bit safer dating someone from the internet vs. someone you met in a bar or at a party-- because if something happens, he's easily traced (assuming he paid to join the online dating service). Sure, I've heard some stories about nutty people on line but never a story about anyone placed in actual jeopardy. And I've never met anyone dangerous on line (but then I'm a guy).

Tyler said...

There are a couple of things to consider in online dating. One of the obvious things is that you probably don't want to meet someone in an isolated location, get in the car of someone you barely know, etc. But this is true of anyone that you don't know well, regardless of how you met them.

The reason why this may be more of a concern in the case of online dating is that if X and Y meet through friends, then mutual friends are likely to know what X and Y are up to, whereas this gossip channel may not exist when two people meet online outside a normal social context.

Jonathan Lyles said...

I prefer meeting people in person than online.

Anonymous said...

Well ... now I've seen it all. A quote from an ad on Yahoo Personals "My ideal man should know the value of a high thread count". This coming from a 53 y/o woman. I give up.

Amy said...

I would like to know if the people writing the articles and doing the research are single. In my experience, attached or married folk just do not get it at all. I have made female friends online - and everyone I've dated in my four single years has come from an online connection. I have met some duds, but the real creeps, well, I never meet them because they reveal themselves early, they can't help it.