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Finkel and associates (2012) put together an extremely comprehensive review of the literature investigating various aspects of online dating.The goal of their review was to evaluate whether online dating was 1) fundamentally different from face-to-face dating and 2) was superior.Overall, Finkel and associates (2012) found that online dating differed in three main areas: Pros: Online dating provided individuals with access to many more potential partners than they could often find in their daily lives.This is especially true for individuals interested in partners of a particular type, orientation, lifestyle, or in isolated areas.Cons: Communication through computers is lacking some of the information provided in face-to-face interaction.As a result, it is harder to evaluate a potential match online.
For the busy professional, or the safety-conscious, such communication is an excellent way to "test" potential partners.Also, some of the cues and features that build attraction (like touching) cannot be accomplished through a computer.So, such computer-mediated communication may have an artificial and unemotional quality.Beyond that, it might be best to trust your unconscious feelings too as your implicit "gut reactions" can have a big impact on attraction. Communication - Online communication is designed to make an initial connection, not set the foundation for a whole relationship.
So, keep initial online conversation focused on finding out the basics quickly, then setting up an actual date.
Clearly, the features of online dating have both costs and benefits.