Understanding and Facilitating the Development of Social Networks in Online Dating Communities: A Case Study and Model

Understanding and Facilitating the Development of Social Networks in Online Dating Communities: A Case Study and Model

Jonathan Bishop (Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd. & The GTi Suite & Valleys Innovation Centre & Navigation Park & Abercynon, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-967-5.ch086

Abstract

Online dating is a big business, allowing people from the comfort of their own home to view and read about potential mates all around the world. Different dating sites offer different services. However, it is not yet commonplace for Web sites dedicated to dating to use the social networking tools used by popular online communities, such as those that use the personal homepage and message board genres. The ecological cognition framework (ECF) provides a theoretical model regarding online dating communities’ behavior and relationship development. A model based on the ECF is proposed and provides a basis for developing online dating services that effectively support relationship development. Two investigations are presented in this chapter, one that uses a case study approach to identify and describe online dating services from the perspective of a specific case and another that assess the effectiveness of existing online dating services based on the guidelines developed from the case study. The case study provides a useful insight into the nature of social networking from the perspective of a specific case, which led to guidelines for developing e-dating systems that when evaluated showed that the most popular social networking services also score well against the criteria proposed in those guidelines.

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