“A lot of this is niche marketing, which tends to happen with any kind of consumer good.
There’s a general introduction of a consumer good and when people get sick of buying it, they start niche marketing it so they can get people to keep buying it,” he explained.
According to Ryan, the impact of online dating remains limited for the time being because of barriers to accessibility.
“In Egypt, access to the internet is around 30 percent.
You'd also have to speak English, of course, since around 80 percent of websites are in English.
From classic websites like or Ok Cupid to new mobile apps like Tinder, there are more ways now than ever to find love online. According to Michael Ryan, assistant professor of sociology, one reason could be society’s increasing reliance on technology.
“This is part of a larger social evolution, or I would say devolution, toward our lives being completely embedded in technology, and I think our need to plug into technology constantly has leaked over into the dating world,” said Ryan.
“If I’m going to order my groceries, play games and talk to people online, then it makes sense that dating would be moving online as well.” Yet while sites like Ok Cupid have been matching up singles for years, online dating has become even more popular with the recent advent of mobile apps like Tinder, which alone boasts more than 10 million active users daily.
These new dating apps may be popular because of the different types of relationships users are looking for, said Ryan.
“Whereas Ok Cupid or and these other websites seem more about traditional dating, the apps seem more about hooking up,” Ryan noted.
Pointing to Michel Foucault’s repressive hypothesis, Ryan believes that social context helps explain the popularity of apps like Tinder.