When online dating first began to enter into the social consciousness, it became known as a last ditch effort for lonely unfortunates, who had no other way to meet people. Comedy skits like the “Lowered Expectations” routine by MAD TV poked fun at the personals industry and the stereotypes of singles who “needed” to use dating services. These days, however, the online dating industry seems to be shedding its negative image, and trading it in for the new mainstream, popular way to connect with new people. How did this industry achieve its facelift? How did the socially awkard associations get traded in for its shiny new exterior?
The early path of online dating was a rocky one. It was rejected, made fun of, and openly mocked on television. These days, however, it seems that online dating has now been openly embraced by the masses who previously shunned it. As is often the case, once something has a few proud followers, it is much easier for others to become more and more accepting. This is certainly true for online dating. It took online dating persistence and continuous self improvement to become the internet force it has today. Just look around: practically everyone knows someone, or has heard of a friend of a friend who met their partner through an online dating service. These success stories have worked as the best free publicity online dating could have ever asked for. As more and more people heard success stories, they too became curious about what online dating really did have to offer. And as these people began finding success, they too told their friends, who signed up and then told their friends, and so on. This worked somewhat like a snowball effect, since people are much more likely to sign up for a service if they know someone who has used it, and especially if that friend has found success.
As the online dating industry began to grow, it also found ways to improve itself. While safety and privacy issues were a big concern for many people, new methods of ensuring privacy and safety have put many of those worries at ease. Better and faster features also developed, due, in part, to the growing number of online dating services. The increase in online dating websites encouraged competitive growth, and led to an increase in quality and features offered for members.
Although these are certainly not the only reasons that online dating has grown to become such a large and powerful industry (credit can also be given to the increased role the internet plays in our daily lives, and the demand for fast, effective, cheap, and convenient ways to meet people in the increasingly industrialized and busy world), they have certainly added fuel to the ever-growing fire.