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Cupid's algorithm: the great online dating debate

Categories: Community, Science & Technology

Whither the well-meaning friends who force singles together at parties. More and more people are clicking with people they first met as profiles. (iStock photo)

"So, how did the two of you meet?"

It's a question commonly asked of blissful couples - and, in recent years, the answer is much more likely to be "online."

A comprehensive study released just before Valentine's Day last year found that online dating has become the second most common way for couples to meet - a big shift since the early 1990s, when less than one per cent of single adult Americans turned to the internet in search of potential mates.

But as Cupid's algorithms grow in popularity, so too must daters learn how to navigate the increasingly complex digital love-scape. We're interested in three key debates about the "right" dating formula.

  • Paid or free: Should you stick to open sites and save your hard-earned dollars for date nights? Or does paying to access a gated community indicate that you're taking this seriously?
  • Serendipity or strategy: Will a straightforward search and a bit of luck lead you to that special someone? Or should you make use of matching services, and other advanced sifting strategies? 
  • General or niche: Will your love be waiting for you in the big tent? Or should you sneak off to a corner with the other vegetarians, single parents, or Star Trek fans?

For a special Valentine's Day edition of CBC Live Online, our host Lauren O'Neil oversaw lighthearted debates on all three decisions.

The special guests who joined us represent some of the internet's flagship dating sites:

Watch a replay of the chat below!

Tags: Live chat, Technology

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