Entry 7. All We Want Is Love.

The Beatles got it wrong.

What makes the online dating culture tick? Is it the fun, cool new apps? No. Is it the heart warming commercials of old people in love? No. Is it the overwhelming amounts of eligible bachelors in your area? Definitely not. This digital world continues to grow and prosper because all of its users want something they can call love, AKA attention.

Digital gifting — the newest ways of online dating organizations to make money. I did not even know this existed prior to my research. Now, you can send someone a virtual hug 1,459.5 miles away, of course for a small fee. What does this new feature mean? That people are willing to spend money on virtual gifts in order to build a connection. Sending virtual chocolate or virtual flowers is just another way to give and receive attention. However, if you truly wanted love, maybe you would send a real chocolate box or a bouquet of roses. People aren’t sending virtual candy grams for love, they’re sending it because they want to be noticed. They want attention.

Catfishing — where people lie about themselves in order to make others pay attention to them. I did not know how common this was across all sites. I figured catfishing was normal across free applications like Tinder, but catfishing is also very common across big name websites, like Match.com. Thus, companies are starting to create deeper background checks. What’s interesting about catfishing is somenoe wants “love” so bad that they’re willing to create a complete new persona.

They build a relationship on unsteady ground from the start, and for what — for the attention.

Catfishers know the relationship isn’t going to go pass a certain point. They know it’s never going to create a strong, loving relationship, yet that doesn’t stop them from trying to gain that attention that desire.

Profile decorating — put your best foot forward. When researching this topic, I realized that different platforms ask for different information. Some websites ask for height, weight, the amount of kids you have, while others just give you a certain amount of characters for whatever you want the world to know. Of course it feels good to get more matches, it means more people noticed you. The way we do that is through creating the best profile possible. We invest time into taking our photos so we have a new profile picture. We think about whether or not we want to include our alma mater, because maybe the schools not prestigious enough. Behind every online dating user’s profile is a whole lot of time and energy, and for what? It’s for more matches, which, as we established earlier, means more attention.

People want to feel like they’re loved. They want to feel like they belong. That’s why we have online dating sites in the first place. Yes, they’re there to help people find partners. However, why are we searching for partners? If we were truly happy with ourselves, we would not feel the need to fill that void with another human being. Online dating sites and apps, regardless of who they target, how much you pay or don’t pay to use them, or what the mathcing algorithm is, all have the same purpose: to provide that attention that allows people to feel like that belong.

Regardless of your status, your background, or your media ideologies, you’re online for the same reason as everyone else and maybe that’s why online dating is so succesful.

At the end of the day, each single person online is just as vulnerable as the next in their search for love.

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