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The history of internet dating

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Since the invention of the Net, human culture has become far faster.It has given us a new word, ‘viral’, to describe the sudden exponential take-up of new ideas, words, technologies and practices.

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‘You wouldn’t believe the amount of discrimination we face’, she told me.Typos abound: one dater says they don’t want to be ‘partonized’, another says the fact she speaks three languages is ‘intimating’ for many men.Yes, I know, I’m a pedant – and I’m sure the boys’ profiles are just as misspeltt.The speed of disruption was brought to my mind when I went to see , which is about Facebook. They’re already making a movie about Facebook, before it’s even gone public. The beginning of the film takes us back in time to the origins of Facebook, way back in 2003.The reason Facebook succeeded, the film explained to me, is that its technology isn’t entirely disruptive.Take, for example, the invention of the pill, or the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill, which was first synthesized from Mexican yams (no, really) in the 1930s, then introduced for married women in the US in 1965 (although not introduced for unmarried women until 1972).

Think how incredibly disruptive that new technology was for traditional ways of interacting.

Suddenly more people were sending me emails asking to meet up.

The number one girl on the female popular board sent me an email, asking me to write to her.

These people were then sometimes hurt if I didn’t reply to their email. I ended up being an agony aunt to women all over the world, firing out tens of emails a day to lonely Bridget Joneses…‘Hey, don’t worry, I’m sure things will turn around, plenty more fish in the sea, just stay positive OK? The journalist (or voyeur) in me had to find out who was the person behind the profile page.

It was like an advent calendar, where you keep opening the little windows, without ever quite getting to Christmas. The technology may be cool and efficient, but you’re still dealing with the slow messiness of the human heart.

Being on the ‘popular board’ had given me what they call ‘social proof’.