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The people who are divorcing more—or marrying less—are the ones who aren't going to do as well in the "efficient" competition on dating sites.They aren't going to gain much from this onlinification.My favorite sentence from that article: On the other hand, back in the days of dating, women entering college in the 1950s reported an average of about 12 dates per month (three per week) with five different men.These women were grossly outnumbered in college, and most women didn't go to college, so it wasn't a system for the whole society.When he wanders off to a new partner, he leaves one behind.She might or might not have the same options to exercise.If this system is efficient at finding perfect matches, it is also efficient at sorting people according to existing social hierarchies—applying what Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic called "algorithmic perversity." Some people will use online dating to constantly trade up—maybe ditch a sick or unemployed spouse—and that will also speed up other processes, like the widening of social inequality.

Efficiency First, I'm skeptical of the claim that, as one executive put it in the article, "the market is hugely more efficient" as a result of online dating.But it tells us something about efficiency: Since dating reliably ended in marriage within a few years, it was pretty efficient, but that's because of the attitude and expectations, not the technology.For people who are intent on being choosy, online dating might be more efficient than meeting people in person, but people in urban areas have been finding alternative partners for a long time.In a terrific 2003 New York Times article by Amy Harmon, a fourth-grade teacher, retold the statistics of her four-months of online dating: messages exchanged with 120 men, phone calls with 20, in-person meetings with 11—and 0 relationships.That's not efficient at producing relationships—but it is efficient at producing anxiety.

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