Singles and Online Dating in the 21st Century: How We Got Here

Dating App

People may think online dating is an independent phenomenon of modern times but there exists a long history of people reaching out to each other outside conventional social interactions before the advent of computers and the Internet.

Beginning circa 1690 personals began appearing in local newspapers, stating one’s needs and intentions in attracting a suitable person for companionship or marriage.

By mid-19th century personals and professional matchmaking accelerated, creating mass acceptance. Personals then went underground but resurfaced again during World War I in the form of pen pals for isolated soldiers. Once the war was over personals acquired a shady reputation due to the stigma of homosexualism and use of personals by prostitutes.

Many decades later when youth culture was blooming and computers were now being used in business, in 1965 the first online dating service began, grand-daddy to today’s dating apps.

By 2010 online dating services were populating the map of every city in the U.S. These days you can find singles of every sexual persuasion, gender preference, religion, ethnicity, race, and personal interests on dating apps.

The Mobile Revolution

The latest wave in online dating is mobile dating, which started in 2003. But not until iPhone was created in 2007 did mobile dating launch in earnest. By 2010 mobile dating entered the mainstream and in 2012 it has steadily been overshadowing online dating.

With the advent of iPhone and Android devices dating apps are growing at an exponential rate. The mobile dating apps sector has been projected to be valued at $2.1 billion.

And big changes are happening within mobile dating apps, the most recent the introduction of video features. A number of dating apps now offer the ability to upload a video profile instead of using a profile photo and bio. Some are offering video messaging, others video chats. But the only app to offer a complete platform of video features is Zepeel. That means video profiles, video messaging, and video chatting.

Zepeel has a fresh, simple, and attractive interface easy to navigate. To fill out a profile couldn’t be faster: just your height, body type, and three other questions to let other users know if you fall into a category that interests them or not. It only takes a few minutes to accomplish this and then you can start browsing videos right away. Responses are quick as this writer discovered when they took a tour of the app.

Even though many dating apps have been reluctant to commit to a total video platform, the money is on dating apps like Zepeel to lead the charge. And make video dating as common and accepted as mobile dating is today and online dating has been for the last 11 years.

Also Read >>> Video Dating: A Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay?

Popular Culture and Impact of Online Dating

Since popular culture has become immersed in and acclimated to online dating and mobile dating apps, it’s time to take a look and see what the impact has been on the American singles population.

Depending on who you ask, somewhere between 40–44 million single Americans use online dating services. This works out to 40% of the singles population. Of this figure 52.4% of U.S. men and 47.6% of U.S. women use online dating services.

The following breakdown of age groups, who use online dating services reflects how millennials have affected the online dating industry.

  • Ages 18 to 34 (millennials) compose half (50%) of online daters. No surprise here as they were brought up with technology just as baby boomers were raised with television in the 1950s and 60s.

  • Ages 35–44 compose nearly a quarter (24%) of online daters.

  • Ages 45–54 compose 15.7%, a little slower to adopt new technology.

  • Ages 55 and up compose 11% of online daters. The baby boomers who created youth culture are not about to be left behind in the dust.

Addressing a common misperception about what online daters are looking for, physical attractiveness is not the most important. Only 49% comment physical attractiveness is what’s important. And it turns out shared interests are what’s primarily important to 64% of online daters.

The percentages of how many men and women are online daters are close to even. For men, 52.4% of them use online dating services, compared to 47.6% of women. So roughly half of single men and women of the entire dating population are using online dating services, pretty impressive.

How People Have Found Love

The best and most conventional way people have found love has been through friends, report 63% of marrieds. Yet 20% of singles presently in a long-term relationship met online, also an impressive figure.

Online dating forecasters project online dating will increase 25% each year until 2023.

Do you find any of these statistics surprising? And do they reflect in whole or part the reality of what you or other friends have experienced using dating apps? Tell us your thoughts.

Author Bio: Patricia attended San Francisco State University and earned a degree in Technical and Professional Writing in 2008. She took a professional development course, B2B High-Performance Copy-writing from American Writers and Artists Inc., in which she learned among other things lead generation, white papers, and landing pages. She has experience in blogging and expert in writing different topics.