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  1. 1. Online Dating in the Gay and Lesbian Community Robert Erichsen Preston Gales Sharon Filadelfia
  2. 2. Introduction • What is Online Dating? • meeting people and forming relationships online • Popularity • 40 million users visited dating sites in August 2003. That is roughly half of all singles in the U.S. • With so many using the internet it is only natural for people to use it for dating as the well.
  3. 3. Introduction • Popularity (cont.) • Trying to find the “ONE” • Notion of marrying for love is generally new • Online dating gives you access to millions of people. Giving users a better chance of finding the “ONE” • Anonymity • still holds somewhat of a stigma • Users like the fact that it is anonymous • Ability to find others with similar values, interests and beliefs
  4. 4. Introduction • Popularity (cont.) • Older daters • Out of the natural dating pools • Divorce • Single parents are not always able to go out and meet people • Higher Education and moving for work • These people often find themselves in unfamiliar territory and need an alternative way to meet people.
  5. 5. Research Questions • What types of people use online dating websites? • What differences exist between online daters? • What are these online daters looking for?
  6. 6. Methodology http://www.matchmaker.com/ the researchers started out viewing profiles on a few different dating websites but in the end decided to use Matchmaker.com. Matchmaker is a popular online dating site and allowed us to search for profiles at no cost. One question the researchers had to deal with from the beginning was whether to take a random sampling or restrict the search to a specific area. In the end the researchers decided to use profiles from users in and around the San Diego area.
  7. 7. Selection of Users The researchers began by collecting data on all groups of users, ages 26-35 and 56-65, but soon found that to be too large of a sample. As a result the researchers restricted the study to the homosexual community. The researchers thought that this community would make better use of the online dating service due to a lack of dating resources elsewhere in our society.
  8. 8. Selection of Users The researchers sampled 10 profiles of each community and age group. The researchers analyzed these profiles to find trends in the data that could tell us more about online dating in the homosexual community.
  9. 9. Data Analysis From the initial profile analysis the researchers came up with the hypothesis that older users take online dating more seriously and invested more time than younger users. To test this theory the researchers looked at a few characteristics of the profiles such as: •Word Count •“I” Usage •Extroverted/Introverted personality •Photo used •Political and Religious affiliation
  10. 10. Data analysis Word Count and “I” usage were two of the harder things to obtain only because these had to be counted. For the Word Count the researchers copied the text into a MS Word doc and used the word counting tool to help us with that. The “I” usage had to be counted by hand.
  11. 11. Data Analysis set 1 = 26-35 Women wdct = # of words used in profile set 2 = 56-65 Women set 3 = 26-35 Men "I"s = # times the subject used "I” while set 4 = 56-65 Men desribing themselves
  12. 12. Data Analysis The researches then calculated the percentage of “I” Usage by dividing the number of times “I” was used by the number of total words used in the profile. set 1 = 26-35 Women set 2 = 56-65 Women set 3 = 26-35 Men set 4 = 56-65 Men
  13. 13. Data Analysis Another difficult piece of information was whether the user was an introvert or an extrovert. To determine this the researchers depended on the users described activities. If they enjoyed social activities with other people the researchers labeled them extroverts and if they enjoyed solitary activities they were labeled introverts. set 1 = 26-35 Women set 2 = 56-65 Women set 3 = 26-35 Men set 4 = 56-65 Men Personality: Intro = Introverted Extro = Extroverted
  14. 14. Data Analysis Studying the users’ photos was interesting. Our hypothesis was that if a user was serious about online dating and wanted something long term, they may put more time into the photo they choose to post. the researchers thought that if a user had a formal, full body photo they would be more likely looking for a serious long term relationship based on the time and effort taken to get the photo.
  15. 15. Data Analysis set 1 = 26-35 Women set 2 = 56-65 Women set 3 = 26-35 Men set 4 = 56-65 Men Photos: c=casual f=formal hs=head shot fb=full body
  16. 16. Data Analysis Most of the users had similar political and religious affiliations, so all this told us was that the online homosexual community studied was for the most part liberal, and evenly spread across religions between alternative, traditional, and non-religious. This data did not really help us with our theory. set 1 26-35 Women set 2 56-65 Women set 3 26-35 Men set 4 56-65 Men
  17. 17. Findings The researchers found interesting information in the Word Count, and “I” usage, and the “I” usage ratio. •The older users had higher word counts than the younger groups. •The younger gay male group had the highest % of “I” usage.
  18. 18. Findings
  19. 19. Findings “I” Count Across All Groups 0.06 0.05 Younger 0.04 Women 0.03 Older Women 0.02 Younger Men 0.01 0 Older Men I count mean
  20. 20. Findings Word Counts Across All Groups 800 700 600 Younger 500 Women 400 Older Women 300 200 Younger Men 100 0 Older Men Mean Word Count
  21. 21. Conclusions • All types of people use online dating sites • Probably due anonymity and ability to find people outside the immediate social circle that have similar beliefs, values, and interests. • Older people use these sites differently than younger users. • Older users invest more time and effort and share more about themselves in order to seek meaningful, long term relationships. • Younger users invest less time and effort and may be seeking more superficial experiences. These people also have more choices of where to go and meet potential dates. (i.e. school, bars, etc)
  22. 22. Conclusion •This study tells us a little about the gay and lesbian community in Southern CA but further studies need to be conducted to get conclusive data. •Until data begins to be collected on what happens after these users meet each other, the only things that can be studied are the people using these online services. •In order to determine if these services actually work, data needs to be collected after the users of these services meet. •Once we know what happens after the users meet we can determine the success of these sites and which types of profiles are compatible.

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