Intro to New Media Studies, Spring 2008

Written Component in addition to post w/attached Powerpoint

May 3rd, 2008 by · No Comments

My final project is on online dating and in particular, eharmony.  I chose to research this because I know people who tried it and had success. They are happily married with two children.  Since eharmony is the most elite dating site, I decided to see if it was all it was cracked up to be.

The company was started in 2000 by  Dr. Neil Clark Warren in Pasadena, Ca and it now has a 250 person staff.  It was once affiliated with right wing evangelicals, specifically James Dobson. The description of eharmony’s services is that it matching heterosexual couples through psychological testing with the intention of marriage. They also provide marriage counseling, dating tips, advice for singles, etc.  Those excluded from being able to participate in the site are:  homosexuals, people with three or more failed marriages, those with severe depression, those under the age of 21, and those already married.  Eharmony has been sued for not allowing gays and lesbians on the site.

The company’s growth doubled in its early stages but now growth has slowed to 10% because of free social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook.  However, it still remains among the most popular dating sites though it has recently been facing increasingly harsh criticism from competitors. Prices at eHarmony range from a flat monthly fee of $60 to a 12-month upfront fee of $251 ($21 a month). There 250 million page hits a month from 15 million registered users.

In relation to our class and the readings we’ve done over the semester, my discussion related to: the Internet —globalization—interconnectivity-Global Village: the future of eHarmony and related sites such as match.com etc is uncertain—are they fads or culturally reshaping phenomena?  It is too soon to tell the effect of this reshaping and rethinking the concept of dating (psychological, sociological impacts, etc).  Will face to face human interaction be faded out more and more with the continued development of online companies and networks? 

Related to Marshal McLuhan, the Gutenberg Galaxy — that media are “extensions” of our human senses, bodies and minds.  Putting ourselves “out there” on the internet as analyzed people (analyzed by dating sites in order to match people with profile and specific identities/biographies which can not be completely verified before meeting someone in person.  The medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.  So the medium as (dating websites, emails, chats) turns our attention to the effect of online dating on society and society being reshaped. If we are moving toward a global village, electronic mass media will collapse space and time barriers in human communication, enabling people to interact and live on a global scale.  The quality of the interaction is still uncertain in the virtual world of the WWW.  For fun/interest, go to kiamatch.com.  It is a great example of American cultural commentary on online dating, making fun, also using core ideas to gain customers/market products.

Hope you enjoyed the video clip of my eharmony friends.

Enjoy your summer. Good luck to graduates!!!

 

Original post by Anika

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