Ethnographic Study

Online dating is not an isolated act; users integrate these systems into their lives for various purposes and lengths of time. Examining only the online portion of a user's behavior provides an incomplete picture of the total experience.

Longitudinal study of people who use online personals will answer questions about the connection between relationships fostered through the Internet and the user's offline social milieu. In this area, no existing work moves beyond anecdote. We do not know how users think about and relate to the people they meet via online personals — does the fading cultural stigma affect perceptions of their dates? We do not know how satisfied people are with their dates, whether they live up to expectations. We do not know how the process of searching and meeting in person repeatedly shapes the user's approach to using dating systems. Questions like these require in-depth, long-term study of online dating users.

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