Social networking has risen in popularity dramatically in the last few years. Myspace and Bebo were both once very popular but have both given way to the giant that is Facebook. Facebook has millions of viewers each day with people of all kinds signed up. As it is completely free to do so, Facebook has exploded in popularity. Facebook offers the same wide variety of choice that dating agencies do, with the ability to search for profiles and see user friendly profile pages with pictures of each user. It would appear that they overlap in their target audience, so is the relationship between social networking and internet dating complimentary or are the two in conflict. How does the popularity of Facebook affect the internet dating franchise? One aspect of social networking that is very complimentary to internet dating is the ability of internet dating users to utilise Facebook as a means of checking the authenticity of the people that they talk to. Whilst it is fairly easy to create a fake profile on a dating website with a fake picture, if a user is able to show an active Facebook account with many friends to people that they meet on a dating website, they are more likely to be seen as authentic. The main conflict between the two is the issue of cost. As Facebook is free, many people would choose to use it over a paid dating website. This is the biggest challenge that dating agencies face from social networking. However, the dating agencies offer a more polished service, targeted specifically at users who are looking for love. Facebook is extremely multi-purpose so users who are looking for their soul mate are very likely to constantly bump into other users who are not interested in a romantic relationship at all. Because of this, it seems that the two can coexist reasonably comfortably. Paid dating websites are also able to offer a more adult service to their users. Because all users have to be over 18, it allows the members to candidly discuss sexual matters to find a partner of sexual compatibility. This is completely lost on Facebook as it is a family service. In this respect, the two separate services compliment each other quite nicely as one can take care of the individual in a sexual capacity whilst the other takes care of the individual in a more family oriented capacity. So it seems that despite the conflict between the two types of service, they can coexist fairly well.
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