The Seahawk

Online dating on the rise

Jeffrey Cashwell | Contributing Writer

February 1, 2013

 Love is in the air. The birds are chirping, stores are filled with a sweet, chocolatey aroma, and-wait, what's this? A new message from Bustybabe91? That's right, you too can now "chat online with babes all day."Online dating may soon become the go-to place to find your future husband or wife. As surprising as that might sound, it was reported by the business firm Chadwick Martin Bailey that in 2010, 1 out of 6 couples found love online. This statistic is rising each year, with more people turning to cyberspace for their significant other, including myself. I've been in a happy relationship for nearly half a year.There's a lot to like about online dating. It's convenient, easy to set up, and makes the selection process as easy as hitting the "block" button on your computer screen. However, there are a few negative aspects to choosing a partner online.Psychologists from the Association for Psychological Science generally agree that although the online "profiles" we create and browse are made with our intentions clear, it's often the case that what we perceive as desirable for ourselves is not always realistic. Another problem is the sheer number of profiles at disposal when browsing these dating sites. Rather than settling for a potential partner, one can simply hit next and continue their search for the perfect one-much like shopping for a pair of jeans or shoes.Popularized by MTV's television show "Catfish," fake profiles have been trending too. These profiles will bait naïve users into relationships that hold no face value. The online dating world can be a hunting ground for people like this, and it's important to request some form of verification before proceeding to give away personal information about yourself.It's not all bad news, though. Online dating is indeed a great invention for those who don't have the time to find that special someone in a real-world setting. By setting realistic goals and not limiting yourself to the top 5 percent in compatibility, nearly anyone can find someone they fancy.With technology quickly integrating itself into every corner of everyday life, many students attending college in the past decade have migrated their dating life into an online setting where it's more manageable. Instead of wasting time and resource on a disastrous first date, discovering interests, hobbies, and personality traits before going out may save you a lot of headache on top of stress from school and work.Here's some advice: do not hesitate to meet someone if they check out. My partner and I met only a few hours after I created my profile. We went on a date the same night. Also, keep online dating strictly for meeting people to date and set up a night out sooner rather than later or else you're no closer to discovering a spark between the two of you.Any single person interested in getting their feet wet in the online world should not hesitate. According to Google Trends, Match.com reigns as the most popular dating website whereas OkCupid is increasing in popularity and coming in a close second. UNCW students may find their niche on DateMySchool.com (a new dating website that's slowly but surely making an impression) where like-minded college students can date people who are going to college or who have already graduated.

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