There was a time, fairly early in its history, when the Internet was an almost purely social place for most of us. Shortly after it became popular, the average person connected through America Online (AOL) or CompuServe and paid by the minute to enter chat rooms and meet new people. Most of us were wary of the people we met online at first – the anonymity offered online brought out the worst in many of people during the early days when the idea of communicating with people via the Internet was new. However, the bad experiences that were had by some were vastly outweighed by the convenience, the uniqueness and the sheer fun offered by those simple chat rooms of the past.
No one – not even the Internet pioneers – could have predicted how fast the Internet would grow, and how much a part of virtually everyone’s daily life it would become. From the humble beginnings of those early chat rooms, the Internet has become a tool that most of us use to do business, stay in touch with family and friends, get news, sports and weather reports, directions and maps, buy and sell things – you name it, the odds are very good that the Internet offers you a way to do it. The amount of information available on the “information hi-way” is staggering – a simple search on Google or Yahoo can net literally millions of matching sites – and if you can buy something in a brick and mortar store, you can more than likely buy it from your PC or laptop.
Interestingly, in some ways the Internet has come full circle in that along with the other things we do online on a day-to-day basis, many people are now finding that dating online – meeting new people to form relationships with – offers them options that the bar scene, blind dates, fix-ups and other traditional ways of forming romantic relationships simply don’t. The recent explosion of online dating and online dating sites has created a situation in which proximity is no longer the deciding factor in who a person can meet. Rather than being confined to a single town or city, Internet dating offers people the option of looking for that perfect someone across the state, the country and even all across the world.
Not only has the online dating industry exploded in recent years but it has become both more user friendly and relationship specific. No matter who you are or what sort of relationship you are looking for, the odds are that there is a site out there that will fit your needs. There are sites that cater to straight dating, the gay/lesbian community, ethnically based dating (white, black, Asian, etc), bi-sexual and interracial relationships, dating based on religion, political views, ages (under 30 or over 50, etc) and pretty much any and all combinations of the previously mentioned groups. There are sites that will try and find the perfect match for you, and sites that will simply offer thousands (and in some cases tens of thousands) of user profiles and pictures for you to search through. Some sites offer only simple email introductions while other sites will offer instant messaging, private chat rooms, streaming audio, and live video capabilities all administered through the site. It only takes the investment of an hour or two of your time to find an online dating service which caters to your specific needs and desires.
While online dating certainly isn’t going to appeal to everyone, there can be no doubt that the industry’s rapid growth and expansion indicates that more and more men and women are finding it to be not only a viable but a preferable alternative to traditional forms of dating. As a matter of fact, an increasing number of men and women are finding that there are many advantages to looking for romantic companionship online. Some of these advantages include:
* Safety – There is no doubt about it, the world in general and the dating world in particular can be a dangerous place for both men and women. While a person may look or seem to be okay, it takes a considerable amount of time to really get to know anyone. Many people find that getting to know another person online – where they have control over both how much personal information they give about themselves and how much information they ask of another person – alleviates most of their safety concerns. No reputable online dating site will give out your personal information (last name, address, phone number or even email address) without your permission. It is up to the user(s) how fast or how slow a relationship progresses and, should one person have suspicions or fears about their online dating partner, ending the relationship is as simple as clicking out of the chat box or instant message.
* Convenience – For most of us, traditional dating is WORK. Whether male or female, it takes a considerable amount of time to get that look you want perfect, pick out the right wardrobe, find the right place to go, etc. The truth is, in today’s hectic world, a lot of people simply don’t have the time to do everything that they need to do to get ready for a date on a regular basis. Online dating, however, is as simple as switching on a computer and logging into your dating site. Even if you use a site that offers webcam functions, you control whether you turn the cam on, and even if it shows anything other than your smile. The impression you make on the people you are interested in can be made in ripped jeans and an old tee shirt – you don’t even need to comb your hair.
* Variety – One of the most common complaints that people in the dating scene have is that they always seem to meet the same kind of people. A lot of this is, of course, due to the fact that in many cases people from the same towns or cities tend to share many of the same personality traits. This is not the case in the online dating world. You can just as easily strike up a conversation with a girl in Kiev or a guy in Manila as you can with your next door neighbor, and this offers a wide variety of people that simply isn’t available with any other form of dating.
* Cost – Love may be blind, but finding it by traditional dating methods certainly isn’t cheap. A first date with someone you may not even know or actually be compatible with can easily run $ 200 or more, and there is never a guarantee that you will even enjoy yourself or want to see that person again. While virtually all online dating sites charge fees for their services, in many cases the cost of that first traditional, three hour date will buy you weeks – and even months – of online dating with a variety of people who catch your attention. And again, if you find that someone simply isn’t what you are looking for, you can simply say goodbye and try someone else … without having to pay for a cab to take them home!
As I said before, online dating isn’t for everyone – and not every approach to online dating offered by specific sites will be right for everyone. But with the almost unlimited options available and the wide variety of choices that can be explored from the comfort of one’s own home, online dating is something that should at least be looked into by anyone who is in search of that perfect someone. The one you’ve been looking for could be as near as the next chat room!
Tim Zelmer is the Public Relations Manager for http://www.Dream-Marriage.com
, one of the largest marriage and dating services for men seeking relationships with Russian women on the internet.