Online Dating in the Gay and Lesbian Community Robert Erichsen Preston Gales Sharon Filadelfia
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.
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
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.
Research Questions• What types of people use online dating websites?• What differences exist between online daters?• What are these online daters looking for?
Methodologyhttp://www.matchmaker.com/the researchers started out viewing profiles on afew different dating websites but in the enddecided to use Matchmaker.com.Matchmaker is a popular online dating site andallowed us to search for profiles at no cost.One question the researchers had to deal withfrom the beginning was whether to take a randomsampling or restrict the search to a specific area.In the end the researchers decided to use profilesfrom users in and around the San Diego area.
Selection of UsersThe researchers began by collecting data on allgroups of users, ages 26-35 and 56-65, but soonfound that to be too large of a sample. As a resultthe researchers restricted the study to thehomosexual community.The researchers thought that this communitywould make better use of the online dating servicedue to a lack of dating resources elsewhere in oursociety.
Selection of UsersThe researchers sampled 10 profiles of eachcommunity and age group. The researchersanalyzed these profiles to find trends in the datathat could tell us more about online dating in thehomosexual community.
Data AnalysisFrom the initial profile analysis theresearchers came up with the hypothesisthat older users take online dating moreseriously and invested more time thanyounger users. To test this theory theresearchers looked at a few characteristicsof the profiles such as: •Word Count •“I” Usage •Extroverted/Introverted personality •Photo used •Political and Religious affiliation
Data analysisWord Count and “I” usage were two of the harderthings to obtain only because these had to becounted. For the Word Count the researchers copiedthe text into a MS Word doc and used the wordcounting tool to help us with that. The “I” usage hadto be counted by hand.
Data Analysisset 1 = 26-35 Women wdct = # of words used in profileset 2 = 56-65 Womenset 3 = 26-35 Men "I"s = # times the subject used "I” whileset 4 = 56-65 Men desribing themselves
Data AnalysisThe researches then calculated the percentage of “I”Usage by dividing the number of times “I” was used bythe 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
Data AnalysisAnother difficult piece of information was whether theuser was an introvert or an extrovert. To determinethis the researchers depended on the usersdescribed activities. If they enjoyed social activitieswith other people the researchers labeled themextroverts and if they enjoyed solitary activities theywere 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
Data AnalysisStudying the users’ photos was interesting. Our hypothesis wasthat if a user was serious about online dating and wantedsomething long term, they may put more time into the photo theychoose to post. the researchers thought that if a user had aformal, full body photo they would be more likely looking for aserious long term relationship based on the time and effort takento get the photo.
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
Data AnalysisMost of the users had similar political and religious affiliations, soall this told us was that the online homosexual community studiedwas for the most part liberal, and evenly spread across religionsbetween alternative, traditional, and non-religious. This data didnot 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
FindingsThe researchers found interesting information in theWord 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.
Findings “I” Count Across All Groups0.060.05 Younger0.04 Women0.03 Older Women0.02 Younger Men0.01 0 Older Men I count mean
Findings Word Counts Across All Groups800700600 Younger500 Women400 Older Women300200 Younger Men100 0 Older Men Mean Word Count
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)
Conclusion•This study tells us a little about the gay and lesbiancommunity in Southern CA but further studies need tobe conducted to get conclusive data.•Until data begins to be collected on what happens afterthese users meet each other, the only things that can bestudied 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 theseservices 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.