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At the British HQ of the world’s biggest dating agency, every day is Valentine’s Day.
The lift doors ping open to reveal a wall plastered in photographs of happy couples – cliché upon cliché of wedding shots, beach scenes, even a pair strolling through a sunflower field.
It also listed the dates of all the messages they sent during an eight week period in 2011, as well as the receiver of the message and whether they responded.
In their first week of membership to this dating site, men send on average 15 or 20 messages and continue to send them at that rate.
Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?
Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.
On her screen, images of men appeared and then disappeared to the left and right, depending on the direction in which she wiped.
In general, men send far more messages but get fewer replies than women.But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.
It has a Google-like track record of gobbling up its competition: it purchased Ok Cupid in 2011, and also owns Tinder, a wildly popular mobile app founded in 2012.