The concept of dating has never exactly been a simple one. Pick one person out of a crowd, almost at random or based on ephemeral and subjective concepts like appearance, then try and find out more about them using a series of guided questions, one on one, often in the midst of a loud or crowded environment. It's a wonder anyone ever gets together with someone else. But online dating has changed the picture somewhat, especially when it comes to older singles, thanks to the recent involvement of AARP.
AARP has recently launched AARP Dating, a service designed for older singles, complete with information about dating like expert commentary and dating surveys. While the idea of online dating has lost a lot of its stigma among the young, who have embraced the idea of being able to analyze several dozen people at once and then make initial contact only with those they care to speak to, that's not the case in the senior market. Seniors are still expected to meet their dating partners at work or at church rather than via an online matching market.
While there is still plenty of stigma around meeting people online, it only gets worse when the issue of Internet cautions that seem standard too many get involved. Seniors, especially women, find themselves much more frequently the target of bad actors like scam artists and the like, and this requires them to exercise greater caution and vigilance when it comes to meeting people in real-time that they first met online. There are, however, many great success stories out there when it comes to seniors finding love--whether again or for the first time--via online channels, though it takes not only caution but introspection to find that special person for them.
What many don't consider is how much online dating is, essentially, a large-scale communications-as-a-service (CaaS) concept, complete with all the necessary methods to contact other users all in one package. Sure, not all online dating services offer VoIP or videoconferencing services, but if they don't actually offer them outright they're certainly a driver of them. Why not use Skype (News - Alert) in talking to that potential special someone for the first time? There's a lot less risk inherent in such a system than there is in going to bars and hoping for the best.
The use of online dating--indeed, most forms of online socialization--can provide a richer social life for many users, and give them instant access to people who share the same interests regardless of the intervening geography. While precautions are still required to ensure safety, there's no denying that online socialization has made a lot of people's lives all the better for the experience.
Edited by Carlos Olivera