Others take on a more active matchmaking role, in which computer algorithms select pre-screened matches for users based on various criteria (e Harmony is the most well-known of these “algorithmic” matching services).
More recently, a third model has emerged in the form of cell phone dating apps.
This study looks at the ways in which online social networks provide new avenues for meeting “friends of friends” or for researching potential partners before meeting them in person, as well as some of the ways in which awkwardness or “drama” can develop in these highly public venues.
Chapter One of this report looks specifically at online dating sites and dating apps.
This study incorporates these dating apps into our definition of an “online dating user,” and also examines the ways in which cell phones are becoming intertwined in the broader dating environment.
The second major change involves the widespread adoption of social networking sites.
Chapter Two looks more broadly at the online dating environment, and updates certain key trends from our 2005 study—such as how many relationships begin online, or how many people have flirted with someone online.
And Chapter Three examines how people are using social networking sites and cell phones to navigate the world of dating and relationships.
Other research has indicated that the efficiency of online dating and the size of the potential dating pool compared with traditional methods make the process especially useful for people (such as gays and lesbians, or middle aged heterosexuals) who may have limited options for meeting people within their immediate geographic area or social circle.
Today more than half of all American adults are smartphone owners, and dating—like many other aspects of modern life—is increasingly conducted on the go.
The online dating sites that we studied in 2005 continue to exist and play a prominent role, but are now supplemented by mobile apps from which users can do everything from browsing profiles to setting up real-time dates from the comfort of their smartphones.
Throughout this report, we will refer to several different types of Americans based on their current relationship status and whether or not they are actively seeking a partner at the moment.
In particular, much of the analysis will focus on one or more the following groups: Additional demographic details of each group can be found in the Appendix at the end of this report.