You've heard the story before. You've witnessed it on the
big screen. In Hollywood flicks, like You've Got Mail and
Must Love Dogs, the leading man and his female counterpart
meet online and they fall in love. Virtual romance blossoms
This whole online dating, online personals thing was in the making for years. With the dawning of the internet age and the invasion of emails and instant messaging, online dating was but a natural progression.
And while in its infancy taking out online personals and hooking up with strangers across the ether was looked upon as, well, weird, today it's a norm. Millions of people, young and old, across the world, are joining up and logging in to find their true love connection through the world wide web.
Online dating has skyrocketed in the past few years. It's a very lucrative industry. The genius who came up with the idea of charging a monthly membership to look through profiles, is without doubt raking in the dollars.
Online personals, like Match.com and relative newcomer Plenty of Fish have more members now than ever before. However, the internet dating phenomenon first became a hit around 2003-04. Monthly traffic hit 40 million in late August of 2003.
For those who aren't familiar with online personals, here's a short rundown. An online personal is basically a profile, similar to your Facebook or Myspace profile. Usually people include information about their personal interests, their physical attributes (height, weight, eye color, etc), race, religion, smoking and drinking habits, a short blurb or description of themselves, and a sentence or two about what they are looking for in a mate or partner.
Users contact and connect via site based messaging. Most online personal sites also have a system in place for users to express interest without actually saying anything concrete, e.g. winking or poking. The idea is that users can browse through profiles, find someone that tickles their fancy, contact them and eventually meet up, face to face, for a real date.
Most online daters will attest that they like online dating better than dating in meatspace. Online personals are much simpler. They are more specific, more discerning. In the offline world, you're limited to people you meet in your town. Online you can meet people from all over the globe. And you can filter out those people who don't fit your idea of a match and concentrate on profiles that actually do seem appealing.
Just maybe your soul mate is looking right at you from behind your monitor.
There are some downfalls to internet dating, just as there are in real world dating. Many people tend to exaggerate or out right lie about their looks, their age and their professions.
But these types of fisherman's stories can usually be rooted out easily. For the most part, online dating works wonderfully. People really can meet their one and only on the net.
With online personals on the rise, it pays for people to familiarise themselves with the industry before jumping in. Jayde Johanssen provides free online dating advice to help people on their way.