As modern technology continues to close the gap between the internet and reality, more and more college students are taking their love life digital, using online dating to find their next relationship.
Online dating has existed for years, but only in recently years has it become the multi-billion dollar juggernaut it is today. It seems impossible to watch TV these days without one of the seemingly endless online dating sites advertising their services. With everything from Christian only dating sites, to sites for HIV and Herpes positive singles, there is no niche of society that online dating dare not conquer.
Thus, it is of little surprise that the 18-22 year old college scene has developed its own form of online communication. These students are mostly found on free sites like Ok Cupid, but a new website called “Date My School” is looking to provide an outlet for college students to meet others at their school, while avoiding the downsides of traditional online dating in college.
Since launching in 2010, Date My School has rapidly expanded to college campuses around the country. The site requires an active .EDU E-Mail to register for a school, ensuring that only real students are able to sign up. This way, those looking for online dating in college only actually get people in college.
At its current rate, the site appears to be a major hit at some schools, while a dud at others. At Columbia University, over 2,000 students are active on the site, yet at Tulane University there are less than five active users.
Like all other forms of social conduct, an online dating site lives and dies with the activity of its members. Like a cool concert or club, it is the pre-established group of users which encourage others to join in. Sites like Date my School face the problem in establishing their product at new schools of encouraging the first group of people to sign up, thus encouraging more involvement.
Date My School has responded to this need by launching an ambassador program at schools around the country. These ambassador students are paid to openly support the site around campus, handing out fliers with the site’s address on it, and bringing it up at social events. Time will tell how effective this system works for the company.
Regardless of Date My School’s eventual success, it is readily apparent that the wave of young and younger people using online dating to find relationships is destined to continue to grow. What we see here is a response to the popular claims that modern technology has stifled societies’ ability to communicate and emotionally connect with others.
It is ironic that this same tool that many claim is making it impossible for today’s youth to create a relationship is being used by that same youth to find love. The truth is that no matter how “jacked-in” we as Americans become, the overarching need to find love, and be loved by others, is not going anywhere.
And for the ever-growing supply of college students using online dating to great success, new technology isn’t the cause of their problems, it’s the solution.