May 12, 2006

It’s Not You, It’s the Way You Write

A recent post to the Online Dating Industry Journal blog highlighted a Times Leader story about the way new communications technologies are changing the dating landscape. And it’s not just internet dating services that are changing the way people meet and court each other; even when potential mates meet offline, digital communications technologies like email and IM often figure prominently in the first stages of a fledgling relationship.

Whether you’re exchanging emails, text messages or MySpace profiles before talking on the phone, the way you communicate through text becomes paramount while your great conversational skills and charming giggle may not get quite the top billing that you’re used to.

In the case of the Times Leader article, many of the singles who were interviewed noted their preference for digital courtship because it provides a convenient and casual way to get to know someone before going on a date. One woman noted how she likes to first use email to screen out the best candidates:

“If she likes what she reads, she suggests talking via Yahoo! messenger or her cell phone.”

Indeed, as we noted in our recent Online Dating report, internet users who are single and looking for a romantic partner make the most of the Web in their search; they flirt, they ask each other out, and in some cases, they even break up online. Furthermore, those who have used internet dating websites—not just those who are currently seeking someone–are more deeply immersed in any number of digital communication activities.

In our Fall 2005 Online Dating Survey, online daters were more likely than the average internet user to:

  • Ever send email (95% vs. 90%) or do so on a typical day (67% vs. 52%)
  • Ever use chat rooms (56% vs. 23%) or do so on a typical day (13% vs. 5%)
  • Ever search online for information about someone they know or might meet (56% vs. 28%) or do so on a typical day (13% vs. 5%)
  • Ever read a blog (55% vs. 28%) or do so on a typical day (15% vs. 6%)
  • Ever create a blog (22% vs. 9%)
  • Ever rate a product, service or person using an online rating system (49% vs. 31%)
  • Ever use online classified sites like Craig’s List (41% vs. 23%)
  • Ever use online social or professional networking sites like Friendster or LinkedIn (26% vs. 12%)