Online Dating Vs. Social Networking

by Timothy James

The differences between online dating and social networking boil down to this: online dating helps you find a date, while social networking helps you find a friend. People of all ages participate in both online dating and social networking, and many participate in both. When moving between these two worlds, it's helpful to understand the differences.

Registration

Online dating sites often require users to pay a fee for their services, while social networks generally provide users with an account at no cost. Users provide basic information, such as birthdates, and may list their likes and dislikes. Unlike social networks, many online dating sites ask users to complete a long list of questions. These sites then use a sophisticated algorithm to match prospective partners and introduce them to each other, though some research shows these algorithms don't work.

Fragmentation

While Facebook commands the loyalty of almost 70 percent of adults online in the social networking universe, people seeking to date online divide themselves among many different dating sites. Each of the dozens of different dating sites available target a specific market. EHarmony, for example, focuses on Christian dating, while Atlasphere targets those who love the writings of Ayn Rand. Other dating sites target Muslims, Goths, vegans or even World of Warcraft gamers.

Finding Love

People find love through both social networking and online dating. Social networking can allow you to see a prospective romantic partner's friends and family, and how they interact together. If you like what you see, nothing prevents you from asking someone out on a date through Facebook. Of course, people join an online dating site because they desire to date. According to Match.com, 120,000 couples a year marry after meeting at an online dating site.

Meeting in Person

People meet in person as a result of both social networking and online dating. Facebook allows users to create "events," but these activities often draw together people who already have met. The main purpose of online dating is to facilitate in-person meetings people who have never met. If you wait too long to meet someone in person that you've met online, you may actually damage your chances of a relationship.

About the Author

Timothy James is a business litigation attorney licensed to practice law in California. He is also a programmer and website developer specializing in C++, JavaScript/JQuery, HTML, CSS and several other languages. James holds a Juris Doctor, as well as a Bachelor of Science in planning and resource management. He has written about law, health, programming, culture, news and politics.

Photo Credits

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