"If online dating can blunt the emotional pain of separation, if
adults can afford to be increasingly demanding about what they want
from a relationship, the effect of online dating seems positive.
But what if it's also the case that the prospect of finding an ever
more compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of
relationship instability, a paradox of choice that keeps us chasing
the illusive bunny around the dating track?" It's the mother of all
search problems: how to find a spouse, a mate, a date. The
escalating marriage age and declin-ing marriage rate mean we're
spending a greater portion of our lives unattached, searching for
love well into our thirties and forties. It's no wonder that a
third of America's 90 million singles are turning to dating Web
sites. Once considered the realm of the lonely and desperate, sites
like eHarmony, Match, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish have been
embraced by pretty much every demographic. Thanks to the
increasingly efficient algorithms that power these sites, dating
has been transformed from a daunting transaction based on scarcity
to one in which the possibilities are almost endless. Now
anyone--young, old, straight, gay, and even married--can search for
exactly what they want, connect with more people, and get more
information about those people than ever before. As journalist Dan
Slater shows, online dating is changing society in more profound
ways than we imagine. He explores how these new technologies, by
altering our perception of what's possible, are reconditioning our
feelings about commitment and challenging the traditional paradigm
of adult life. Like the sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s,
the digital revolution is forcing us to ask new questions about
what constitutes "normal" Why should we settle for someone who
falls short of our expectations if there are thousands of other
options just a click away? Can commitment thrive in a world of
unlimited choice? Can chemistry really be quantified by math geeks?
As one of Slater's subjects wonders, "What's the etiquette here?"
Blending history, psychology, and interviews with site creators and
users, Slater takes readers behind the scenes of a fascinating
business. Dating sites capitalize on our quest for love, but how do
their creators' ideas about profits, morality, and the nature of
desire shape the virtual worlds they've created for us? Should we
trust an industry whose revenue model benefits from our avoiding
monogamy? Documenting the untold story of the online-dating
industry's rise from ignominy to ubiquity--beginning with its early
days as "computer dating" at Harvard in 1965--Slater offers a
lively, entertaining, and thought provoking account of how we have,
for better and worse, embraced technology in the most intimate
aspect of our lives.
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