Hogan, B., Li, N. and Dutton, W.H. (2011) A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals: Meeting and Dating Online Comes of Age. Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. (full text pdf)
This report comes out of the cross-national research Dr Bernie Hogan has been doing at the OII on the Me, My Spouse and the Internet project.
This paper reports on an analysis of original data from a cross-national survey in 18 countries of couples and their social relationships. The survey focused on cohabiting couples, who have the Internet at home. Each member of each couple was asked how they met their partners, what dating strategies they used before they met, how they maintain their current relationships and social networks, and how these individuals use the Internet in everyday life and work. The survey was conducted online, using a professional pool of respondents to draw our samples. There is wide variety across the world and within nations, such as in approaches to online relationships, to friendships, and to the Internet. However, several general patterns are clear. First, slightly over a third of the sample has some experience with online dating, while 15 percent are currently in a relationship that started online. Beginning in 1997, coinciding with the rise of Web 2.0 technologies, online dating starts to gain prominence. This rise in prominence continues until 2009, when over 30 percent of Internet-enabled couples appear to have met through online dating. A similar growing prominence of the Internet is also occurring around the maintenance of relationships, and the development of social relations more generally. In these and other ways, it is clear that the Internet has become a new place to look for relationships, and that the Internet is important for strong as well as weak ties within social networks.
the most relevant sections to love are 2, 3 and 6.
“the Internet is also reconﬁguring strong ties – the relationships of people who are our most physically close and emotionally intimate, such as married couples and cohabiting partners [Dutton et al., 2009b]”
Interesting emphasis on networked individualism’s impact on dating and falling in love: there’s a shift towards “individualistic activities rather than group-oriented ones”.
Some of the key findings:
- Online dating is a complement rather than a substitute for ofﬂine dating.
- Online dating is more prevalent among older people (40 and over) who are seeking a relationship
- There are cross-cultural differences
- Favorable attitudes towards online dating do not depend on success at online dating, but instead are related simply to exposure to online dating activities.
- The ways that people are seeking out partners are becoming more of a blend of offline and online networks, which has been called networked individualism, rather than simply more or less group based.
22.6% of relationships in the UK began online (since 1997)
offline, most people still meet their current partners at work, then at a bar, pub or club, followed by being introduced by a friend.
online, 38.5% of people meet through dating sites, followed by a chatroom/MUD/MOO, followed by a social networking site.
many people will disclose intimate and personal details in online settings with individuals other than their spouse or partner [Whitty, 2004]
striaght/gay women and men agree on the behaviours they approve/diapprove of a their spouse doing (except gay men, who approve of a partner discussing life with another person he finds atrtactive and viewing explicit content with someone he finds attractive); straight women and gay women have strongest disapproval for spouses who discuss life, personal information and a relationship with another person. They view cybersex and having an “emotional relationship” with the same amount of disapproval.
Great references section.
UPDATED 2 JULY 2012!
more notes and quotes:
slightly over a third of the sample has some experience with online dating, while 15 percent are currently in a relationship that started online.
the key point that emerges from this timeline is that beginning in 1997, online dating starts to gain prominence. This coincides with the rise of Web 2.0 technologies… This rise in prominence continues until 2009. By 2009, over 30 percent of Internet-enabled couples appear to have met through online dating.
older people are disproportionately more likely to use online dating as a means to find their current partner, than younger people. About 23 percent of people below forty started a relationship through the Internet, whereas about 36 percent of people forty and above found their current partner online
The northern European countries are slightly but significantly more likely to use online dating
marriage markets have not changed dramatically since the rise of online dating, except in the very important respect that people have now added the Internet to the repertoire of means for meeting potential partners.
online dating sites remain the primary context for making successful online matches
where’d you meet your current partner (except gay men): friends of friends, clubs/bars, public space, wasn’t looking, family, social networking sites, hobby groups, online dating, church events, personals
previous partners? (before 1997): clubs/bars, friends of friends, public spaces, wasn’t looking, family, hobby, church, personals, social networking, online dating
offline (now): work, bar/pub/club, friend of friend, house party, college, public space, known since child, large social event, family, neighbour, hobby group, sports team, church
in the past 15 years people have not only gotten more individualistic about their relationship strategies, but also more instrumen tally focused. Individuals are increasingly considering the practice of finding a mate as a distinct and intentional activity with its own set of contexts and conventions, rather than something that just happens’ as one goes about other activities.
38.5% of online contexts where people met their current partner was in online dating sites
where people meet someone new that they later meet offline: SNS (55.4%), direct contact, forum, chat room, online dating, gaming, personal
cybersex: 7% hetero female, 11% lesbian, 10% hetero men, 21% gay man; emotional relationship: 7% hetero female, 10% lesbian, 9% hetero male, 16% gay male
least approval of one’s spouse doing these activities, even those who’re having emotional relationship w another (but not cybersex)
Internet-enabled individuals are likely to know someone who dated online, or know someone who married their online-met partner.