Evolution of Online Dating
The world has gone digital and these days you can do virtually everything online. Talk of things like shopping online, watching movies or TV online, studying online and even falling in love online! Yes, it’s a small world nowadays and people can find love in virtually any country through some marvelous online dating platforms like this site. But, where did the world start falling in love with online dating? Where did the idea of online dating come to be? Well, let’s take a trip down history and find out how online dating has evolved over the years. Let’s get started, shall we?
1959: First Computer Matching Dating Service
We have to go way back to 1959 to trace the first attempt to match people via a computing device. It was a computer course project done by two students Jim Harvey and Phil Fialer at Stanford University. The project was titled “Happy Families Planning Services” in which they used a punch card questionnaire and an IBM 650 main frame computer to match 49 men and 49 women. This idea was never commercialized but apparently, it set the ball rolling in the world of online dating.
1965: “Operation Match”
Fast forward to 1965 and there was another social experiment dubbed “Operation Match”, this time done by two Harvard students Jeff Tarr and Vaughan Morrill. The idea was born out of Jeff’s frustration with blind dating, so he and his classmate Vaughan crafted a plan to land a few cool dates. The idea was “operation match” which leveraged an IBM 1401 and a questionnaire to match students on the basis of similarities. The idea was relatively successful keeping in mind that millions used the service paying a fee of $3 to fill the questionnaire used in the process.
1990s-2000s: Second Wave of Mainstream
Then came the Internet! One of the best inventions ever and this is when the term “online dating” was first coined. But even before this wave had kicked in, there were ways in which people used technology to find people with similar interests including dating of course. Some of the notable ones are America Online, Prodigy and eventually, Craigslist offered chat rooms, forums and online classifieds for use to singles. Once the World Wide Web spread and so did most online dating sites we know today-match.com for instance, registered its domain back in 1995.
By 1998, the era of instant short messages had grown thanks to Gmail and this is also the year when Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starred in You’ve Got Mail. This is credited to be the show that was first to normalize the idea of online dating.
The new millennium and post millennium era saw lots of clever innovation in online dating but perhaps the one that stands a cut above the rest has got to be Facebook invented by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004. Well, it wasn’t an online dating invention as such but it introduced new paradigms in the way the world connected. The Poke Tool in FB was particularly known as a flirt feature.
There was also the invention of Skype in 2003 which ushered in an era of video communication meaning that online daters could chat and flirt face to face but this was just the tip of the iceberg. By the year 2007, there was the introduction of 3G internet connection and smartphones with PC like computing capabilities thus online daters started communicating on the go.
The internet speeds have grown even better in the past decade not to mention that smartphones are now so powerful translating to new innovation in the world of online dating. We have seen the emergence of location based apps and social discovery dating platforms. As expected there are dating apps in virtually every city, sexual orientation, religion, race and almost every hobby. A good example is the emergence of gay dating websites around the globe. Single Muslim is another one that targets single men and women in the Muslim community. Tinder also joined the fray in 2012 and it has grown to be one of the biggest online dating platform with over 50 million users and producing more than 12 million matches a day.
The evolution doesn’t stop here. There is still a lot to come as technology evolves but what’s the next big thing in online dating? Now, online dating will continue being the norm as we seek ways to make connections without breaking a sweat. It’s even interesting to see how innovations like Virtual Reality, Machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence can impact on online dating. Perhaps big data will advance what we know about the science of compatibility. Maybe this will help dating sites improve the chances of successful match ups.
Only time will tell us what’s in store but the future of online dating is certainly worth salivating for!