Online dating is a fad created by the Internet. But, if a study is to be believed, the web is actually affecting dating and intimacy worldwide.
Researchers in Australia have conducted a web audit of more than 60 online dating sites and in-depth interviews with users of online dating services and found that the Internet is altering the very nature of intimacy, emotion and dating.
In fact, they found that for many, using online dating sites was an informal and reasonably effective way of developing one's social and intimate circle, even if there were still some signs of stigma.
According to the researchers, a central and important feature of communicating online was through the drafting of one's personal profile -- which was seen as your own personal "shop window".
"Many of our participants talked about the fact that people were judged on the basis of how they looked, but also how their photos and profiles 'talked' online," said lead researcher Dr Millsom Henry-Waring of Melbourne University.
They also found that the nature of the communication between participants was revealing, due to the intensity, immediacy and in some ways, the almost addictive nature of the interaction.
"We have suggested that a type of hyper-communication occurs in the types of communication and also in the speed and intensity of the contact. As found in other studies, this appears to be facilitated by the informal and dis-inhibitive nature of the medium," Dr Henry-Waring said.
The study has been published in the latest edition of the 'International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society'.