Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.
Few Americans had online dating experience when Pew Research Center first polled on the activity in 2005, but today 15% of U. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.
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Today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report ever using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013.In the fall of 1964, on a visit to the World’s Fair, in Queens, Lewis Altfest, a twenty-five-year-old accountant, came upon an open-air display called the Parker Pen Pavilion, where a giant computer clicked and whirred at the job of selecting foreign pen pals for curious pavilion visitors. Within a year, more than five thousand subscribers had signed on. It would invite dozens of matched couples to singles parties, knowing that people might be more comfortable in a group setting. They wound up in the pages of the New York subscriber.You filled out a questionnaire, fed it into the machine, and almost instantly received a card with the name and address of a like-minded participant in some far-flung locale—your ideal match. He called up his friend Robert Ross, a programmer at I. M., and they began considering ways to adapt this approach to find matches closer to home. “This loser happens to be a talented fashion illustrator for one of New York’s largest advertising agencies.Each client paid five dollars and answered more than a hundred multiple-choice questions. (A previous installment had been about a singles bar—Maxwell’s Plum, on the Upper East Side, one of the first that so-called “respectable” single women could patronize on their own.) She had planned to interview Altfest, but he was out of the office, and she ended up talking to Ross.One section asked subjects to choose from a list of “dislikes”: “1. The batteries died on her tape recorder, so they made a date to finish the interview later that week, which turned into dinner for two. Looking back now, he says that he considered computer dating to be little more than a gimmick and a fad.They’d heard about some students at Harvard who’d come up with a program called Operation Match, which used a computer to find dates for people. She makes Quiche Lorraine, plays chess, and like me she loves to ski. ” One day, a woman named Patricia Lahrmer, from 1010 WINS, a local radio station, came to to do an interview.A year later, Altfest and Ross had a prototype, which they called Project , an acronym for Technical Automated Compatibility Testing—New York City’s first computer-dating service. She was the station’s first female reporter, and she had chosen, as her début feature, a three-part story on how New York couples meet.Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.One in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app; 66% of them have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app, and 23% have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites.Everyone has a friend or two who takes that much longer to respond to emails because they just don’t ever check their accounts, who don’t want to join social networks and who never pop up on IM and gmail-chat.