Social networking has become part of world culture in the last decade or so. Facebook currently rules the roost, closing in on one billion users, while others such as Twitter and Google+, with over 100 million users each, are very popular and growing. There is also a wide variation of social networks available, from those that are music orientated like SoundCloud to professional networks like LinkedIn. People want to get in touch with others, from catching up with old school friends to making contacts in their field of work, and social media networks allow them to do just that. Inevitably, social media networks have influenced the world of online dating.
Online dating, which arrived in the mid 1990’s, is currently rolling away from the traditional giants such as eHarmony and Match.com towards social dating sites. Since social networks helped people become more comfortable with sharing personal information online, these dating sites combined a traditional dating site with elements of a social network. Sites such as Badoo, Zoosk, theComplete.me and Mambonow pave the way for singles online.
Taking Badoo as an example, it looks just like a typical dating site. You can search for people to meet by their age, gender, body type or even their star sign. However, some of the key differences between traditional online dating and a social dating site like Badoo are that in the latter, users have the option to pursue any type of relationship, the wide range of interactive content and games can provide ideal ice-breaking for potential relationships and these relationships can also be vetted by friends and family. Badoo alone now has over 150 million registered users worldwide. To give that figure perspective, if Badoo were a country it would have more inhabitants than Russia. Badoo is currently said to be the fastest growing social network for meeting new people. Meeting new people is subsequently the main difference between the likes of Badoo and Facebook, which is set-up more towards connecting with those you already know.
The Internet is constantly evolving and will continue to provide people with a multitude of different opportunities to build relationships and look for love. Online demand is increasing as more people become accustom to seeking alternatives to meeting people in face-to-face situations. Social dating sites are the latest trend to catch fire online, and it will be interesting to see how they evolve. In a few years’ time something else might come along and this type of platform might become irrelevant in the online dating world, just as MySpace, Bebo and Friendster were steamrolled by Facebook. On the other hand, sites such as Badoo might become the Facebook of online dating, continue to evolve and dominate the market, while the likes of eHarmony crumble.
What the rise of these social dating sites does definitely suggest is that the old stigma attached to online dating is fading and that people seem to be no longer ashamed to be looking for a relationship on the web. The younger generations are used to sharing their lives online, and the older ones are adapting to that behavior as well. Things that traditional dating sites have some problems with, like lying about your age and what you look like, are factors that are less likely to exist through social media sites, especially if the user signs in through Facebook and their details are automatically filled in for them.
Whether everyone likes it or not, the fact remains that online dating has changed, and these social dating sites have added a new twist to relationship building through social media networks.
- Dating sites get inventive with games, apps (stuff.co.nz)
- Need new friends? Social network Badoo will help – now 150M strong (venturebeat.com)
- Dating websites get playful with games, apps (vancouversun.com)
- Dating websites get inventive with games, apps (reuters.com)
- In The New World Of Online Dating, It’s All About Who You Know (huffingtonpost.com)