Friday, August 8, 2008

Online Dating Sites

Now, I am sure many of you might simply find it incongruous or strange that I am writing on such a topic. For people, who come from very traditional backgrounds, this post is surely going to raise a few hackles but I am not really recommending any dating site or recommending the concept of online dating. I am commenting on a phenomenon that has gathered a lot of momentum on the internet for a long time. It has been a pretty long time since the internet became widespread and since its proliferation, there have been dating sites. I also know that we come from a very complex cultural mix, where we are traditional but we are also modern and at places, we are both ultra-modern and even post modern, so much so that the social reality in India is quite baffling to outsiders. This is exactly what I might even like to portray on my blog--a real complex continuum, which is able to encapsulate a number of realities.

So, here we go on yet another topic!

In my varied internet sojourns, I learned about Prime Dating Sites, which is a website that compares a number of online dating sites. Imagine, as if there were a shortage of dating sites that now you have one that seeks to compare them. I have always wondered if a dating site could ever be compared with another. And I have always had few questions in my mind that went unanswered-- what really constitutes a 'dating site experience'? It also seems like a surrealistic question. This is not simply about the fact of internet leading to a boom in online dating. It also means that perhaps people the world over, or in countries with huge internet populations or in certain parts of the world, were so alone and lonely that they lead to an upsurge in online dating. But whether you like it or not, the fact remains that online dating sites are doing good business. So, from the business model, one needs to accept the reality.

I also get to see advertisements of online dating sites on other websites, in emails and even on the television. Earlier, when I had made my email account, way back in 1997, I had never even envisioned a reality where I would see advertisements of any website on television. That seemed unthinkable but now times have changed a lot.

Anyway, Prime Dating Sites had a review of eHarmony -- I hadn't even heard about it till I read it on their website. In the review of this website, they write, "Marriage is a waning institution in the USA with the number of divorces pushing up steadily, affecting the social fabric in different ways." I am happy I live in India, where it used to be said that we had the least divorce rate in the world and that the Indian social fabric was pretty strong enough though I wouldn't say anything in the context of the great social that we have had in India in the last two decades.

Then, I read a review of Lavalife--which is again a new name for a dating site that I heard in my life. From the perspective of a public relations expert, I would rather like to speculate about the name Lavalife and its impact that it would have in the mind of the prospect. It is certainly quite ingenious on part of owners of internet companies that they think of pretty interesting names for their online business ventures. I'll go into online nomenclatures and their resonances in a future post. Let that be another discussion.

Then, obviously, there was a review on Prime Dating Sites about Yahoo Personals. It is yet another service from the Yahoo stable and they are like a conglomerate, offering a number of services. When we hear about this boom in social networking sites, we never hear about sites like Yahoo Personals. I am quite curious about the same potential that these sites could have in terms of social networking. This is something that I haven't really explored but it does ste me thinking.

So, you can use the Web to make a love match or not use the Web to make a love match. The choice is certainly yours and like good writers, one should always leave it in-between...

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