ISO: Social media to build relationships


(We’re looking at online dating and the massive – and increasingly social – industry that it’s become. Second in a three-part series. Check out last week’s post HERE.)

While researching online dating and social media, I tested these love waters with my Facebook status. I was looking for a success story.

Talk about a can of worms. 

The responses were numerous, and they ranged from great luck to variations of nightmare.

Some pals privately messaged with their stories. Others volunteered themselves on my status thread. Finally, I had a slew of friends willing to spy and report back intel on their couple friends who found each other through social dating.

Dennis in North Carolina said his cousin met his girlfriend through a dating site. They’ve been together for more than a year, and it’s a strong relationship.

Allison’s friend met their partner on Match.com. They’re now having twins. 

Cindy in New York offered her own story. She and her sweetie met 10 years ago on [email protected] Their great experience inspired Cindy to create her own dating service, which spurred a number of its own success stories.

Finally, in the not-great news category, Analicia offered the story of a girl friend whose husband recently left her because he rekindled a romance with his ex-wife through Facebook. (Eeek.)

Kris Ruby, president of New York-based online reputation management company Ruby Media Group, said when it comes to dating, social media helps “cut through the nonsense.”

“Social media can save you a lot of time,” Ruby said. “If you meet someone on a dating website, be careful how quickly you connect with them. Look at their stuff. If their five most recent photos are of them with other girls, they’re not ready.”

Ruby does a regular spot for a local TV station in New York on dating. She says it’s important to find out if you’re compatible with someone over social media.  

“This can create long term problems if you’re not,” Ruby said. “You don’t want to invest that time with someone if you can figure out these things early on. Do your due diligence on Twitter and Facebook and see what information is available to everyone and then make your decision.” 

Ruby shared the story of a girl whose boyfriend never wanted to share their relationship status on Facebook. The girlfriend would comment on his photos or write on his wall, and he would delete her messages. But, he would keep comments from other women.

That kind of secret relationship says only one thing: The guy wants to keep his options open.

For many singles, dating online is all about lifestyle. It removes the pressure of meeting someone out and offers the convenience of meeting like-minded prospects through the Internet. 

Experts say online dating is among the fastest growing industries.

There’s big money out there. 

On Feb. 2, Match.com acquired online dating site OkCupid for $50 million in cash. 

In recent years, Match acquired dating sites People Media for a reported $80 million and Singlesnet (terms were not disclosed). 

In his Glimpse at Online Dating Statistics released in Sept. 2010, author Hoopii Parten reports that “online dating research estimated that by 2008, online dating companies would see a growth of $642 million, and $900 million by 2011.” (Want to read more? Check out Parten’s full piece.

But with such a massive industry, I feel compelled to share a slice of reality check.

I offer Alltop’s Holy Kaw, which recently shared a great infographic on Bad e-Romance and the perils of online dating. You can see it here.

Next week, we’ll look at the transition from online sites to dating apps. Oh my.

 

[Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmscottimd/616642026/]