Online Dating: Relationships or Just Hook Ups?

We have, eHarmony, and there’s even It is no secret that online dating has become a phenomenon among all types of people in the past decade.

A Pew Research survey found that about 1 in 10 Americans has tried at least one of these online dating websites.

Nutrition professor Amanda Enright has seen a mix of results in online dating.

“Although I personally have never tried online dating, I have friends who have done it and have had various levels of success.  I’ve been to weddings of people who have met online and they definitely are meant for each other.  I have other friends who have gone on dates with people they met online who turned out to be complete weirdos,” she said.

The vast majority of college students might think, “I’m not that desperate yet,” but the truth is, if you’ve used Facebook to message someone you met at a party the night before, you’ve basically made an attempt at a form of online dating.

Other than Facebook being a popular means of social dating for college kids, online dating now comes in the convenient form of applications as well.

Think about it, just about everyone you know has an iPhone or other smart phone. We are a society based on convenience, so with these apps being developed for us right on our phones, many college kids have taken the step of entering the virtual dating world.

Apps like Tinder have taken students by storm. These apps are really no different than online dating sites. The app uses a hot or not approach, matching people based on location first and then allows the user scroll through others’ pictures. If the other user you get matched with is attractive, you can further contact each other. If not, pass on to the next one.

Dating websites have even been developed for specific members. and are examples of two target audience driven dating sites. Religion has even made a mark on the dating world, with sites like and

One app popular among a specific group, young gay and bisexual men, is Grindr. In the male profiles, it lists their preferences. It is similar to Tinder, where the user can mark who he or she likes and can swipe away others, but it is geared toward the gay community.

Senior radio/TV major Dallas Lewis-Bryant is familar with the app and finds it successful.

“Grindr may seem like a hookup site but you can honestly find people to date. My recently ex-boyfriend and I dated for a year and a half so it is possible to find potentials instead of just a one night stand,” he said.

Sophomore Spanish education major Gianna Cusallini also knows someone who has found online dating to be successful.

“The guy I work with is in his mid-twenties and met a girl through OkCupid who he originally just wanted to hook up with. He used to be a player but he ended up really liking her and now he’s settled down with her after using the site.”

The app called Down, formerly known as Bang With Friends is very straight forward in its purpose. The main menu gives you a “bang” selection of which one of your Facebook friends you want to strictly physically interact with.

The risk of these sites and apps, however, is that there can be a fine line between hooking up and a relationship. Since users are behind a screen instead of face-to-face, there is always potential for someone to get the wrong idea about what will become of the  relationship.

With the bombardment of dating and hookup websites and apps, it’s almost impossible for young people to resist giving them a try. But, it is still beneficial meet a potential love interest without technology as a medium.

Enright poses the question, “Why use online dating in college when you have so many opportunities to meet someone in classes and through extra-curricular activities?”