For people who were not able or were unwilling to meet others in the real world - for whatever reasons - online dating sites used to be the only option available to them. These sites do a good job and have brought together millions of people who would otherwise have been alone. But today these online dating services are facing stiff competition from the mushrooming social networking sites. Facebook, MySpace and other such sites today have millions of members who are looking to extend their range of contacts and friendships and also looking for dates.
Because of the fact that these social networking sites have huge memberships of people of all ages, interests and from all locations it may appear that dating on a social network is easier than on a dedicated site. But it is the very size and complex membership structure of these sites that can make dating on a social network difficult. The members of social sites are there for a variety of reasons, often just to make new friends or re-establish contact with those they knew earlier but have lost touch with. Many members may say that there are interested in dating, but their seriousness is open to question - often it is just said to keep their options open and not as a priority. As a matter of fact, even those who join with dating as their main aim often find that they are able to establish other levels and types of relationships and dating often becomes a low priority, despite what their profiles may say.
Anyone joining a social network for the purposes of dating must be aware of the problems he or she will face. Firstly there is the issue of finding the right person among the millions of members, search tools notwithstanding. Even if a possible date is found and contact established, it may turn out that the person is no longer on the site for dating but has found other interests.
But a dedicated dating site will have only members who are looking for dates so while the possibilities may be less, the chances of success are higher. While finding the right person may still not be easy and there are problems like misleading profiles and predators to contend with, at least you can be reasonably sure that the person you are in touch with has joined the site for the same reason as you have - to find a date. For this reason, the search for a date on an online dating site is likely to be more successful. Many dating sites offer the best of both worlds by allowing links to social networks so that people are able to find out more about potential dates.