It’s one of the oldest forms of social media, predating social networking – a little more purposeful, if you will – and it’s gaining momentum. Well over a third (38%) of American adults who are single and actively looking for a partner have used dating sites or apps, and the percentage of US adults who ever have has tripled over the last five years, according to the Pew Internet Project. In 2008, 3% had; now, 11% of Internet users 18+ have (9% of all US adults). Two-thirds of those who have used dating sites have actually gone on a date with someone they met on one, and 23% have met a spouse or long-term partner on one, according to Pew. Breaking up via digital media isn’t just “kid stuff” either: 17% of “recent daters” aged 18+ have broken up via email, text, or online message, and 17% have been broken up with digitally. Here‘s an infographic Pew created about all this.
In Japan, digital match-making
Interestingly, Japan’s original social network site, Mixi, is now more about marriage than mere socializing online, according to the Japan Times. Apparently since it’s been passed up by social sites “Gree, Mobage, Twitter, Facebook and most recently Line,” Mixi has taken over Line’s marriage-matchmaking (the new Japanese buzzword for it is “machikon”) service Youbride and acquired a machikon company called Confianza. Machikon is apparently a blend of online search and face-to-face speed dating with a hint of “omiai” or traditional match-making flavor sprinkled in. So it may have a better chance in Japan, where online dating as we know it on this side of the Pacific has been frowned upon. “People of older generations think dating is only OK when it leads to marriage,” according to the Japan Times, “which is why marriage-matchmaking services may be seen as acceptable.” It also may help, the paper suggests, that Japan’s “low rates of marriage and birth are reaching crisis levels.”