Annals of online dating

Jonas, whose real life was changed forever when he entered the world of Second Life.

Only the last segment takes place in Second Life, but perhaps because that environment permits such extravagant alteration of identity, it stands out as the most important to the film.

It's not hard to see how online dating sites promote the impression that attractive alternatives can be met with a minimum of effort.

Advertisements routinely feature images and descriptions of numerous highly desirable partners, while promising that a user can, as one site puts it, "find your soulmate in 20 minutes or less." What's more, online dating sites sometimes undermine satisfaction, another major predictor of commitment, when they insist that users should not settle until they find their "perfect match:" someone who is completely and ideally suited to oneself.

It shows that, contrary to what was previously believed, the first computerized dating system in either the US or the UK was run by a woman.

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The piece is both insightful and hilarious, with shrewd observations of a number of subcategories of online daters, including Nice Guys (who are never as nice as they think) and the guys who don't want to date crazy girls (who are often crazy themselves).As a relationship researcher, I'd like to see hard data before concluding that rates of commitment are any lower than they were when the Internet was nothing more than a way of getting news and sending email.Slater is right when he points to the quality of perceived alternatives as one of three major predictors of commitment.The article connects this history to other examples in the history of technology that show how technological systems touted as “revolutionary” often help entrenched structural biases proliferate rather than breaking them down.The article also upsets the notion that computer dating systems can simply be understood as a version of the “boys and their toys” narrative that has dominated much of computing history.

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