In some ways, online dating is a completely new way of seeking out a romantic partner, but it mimics traditional dating in the "real world" more than you would think.
Here are a few examples:
People Love the Virtual Thrill of the Chase
My friend Jack explained his experience on OKCupid: Users make it known how selective they are. He says most cute girls with intelligent and interesting profiles indicate that they are "very selective" in who they respond to. This is not unlike the bar scene — a gorgeous person in the room holding courtseems intimidating and tough to get a response from.
Jack is conflicted about this feature. He thinks it's shallow, but admits that if a girl "responds often," even if he likes her profile, he's less inclined to find her attractive. Conversely, if he gets a response from a "responds rarely" girl he thinks he's done something right and feels more accomplished.
Freedom From Obligation
Jack hung out with a "cute, intelligent" girl he met on OKCupid a couple of times. However, he felt no spark. So, he stopped returning her texts and calls.
Because of the "virtual" feel, people don't follow the same protocol for rejection. If you're dating a friend of a friend, or someone you met in "real life" you might feel like you owe them an explanation. However, Jack said, "why continue the charade?" Online dating is about efficiency. Find a date efficiently, break it off efficiently.
Speaking of efficiency, Jack explained that he only responds to women who look attractive in photos. That's very much like real life. Jack also told me his friend Anna gets a lot of messages on OKCupid because she's cute, funny, and intelligent. She was trying to respond to everyone for a while, but then it got too overwhelming. Nowadays,she simply deletes messages from the guys Who look unattractive in their pictures without reading the messages.
Imagine a world in which you could disintegrate someone who tried to talk to you in a bar. In reality, you smile, you stand there and you "take it". You can't press a button and make them go away, unless that button is on the end of a can of mace.
You're an Advertiser
In advertising, brands have limited time to talk to a potential consumer. In a moment, the brand tries to make a big point with a hard hitting image (usually), tactic, and message.
From what my friend told me, online dating is similar. Writing brief messages to potential significant others keeps their attention. Who wants to read a long winded convoluted life story? Telling part of the story compels the reader to look for more.
In real life, people who are good at hitting on others get to the point and use specific tactics, like advertisers. Applying this mentality might help in the singles scene and bar (offline).
Do you agree with my points above? What do you like about online dating and what bothers you? Is it more like real life in a way, or vice versa?