Social media networks are no longer confined to connecting family and friends; they are fast becoming tools to finding love online, as Taiwanese couples attest.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Sep 27, 2011 – Modern women who are trying to beat the clock and are surrounded by the trappings of technology are no doubt wondering “how can I find a husband using social media?” For Taiwanese women, the answer came in the form of iPartment, the country’s biggest social networking and online dating site that has successfully matched up 200,000 couples since its inception 8 years ago.
The idea of dating someone on the internet was counter-intuitive when it was first introduced. After all, human experience suggests it is difficult to get to know the person’s character when there is no actual interface. The convenience of keeping in touch despite conflicting schedules, however, gave rise to the popularity of online dating sites, and by extension, social networking sites. Communications technology is fast evolving, and there is no doubt that the future of human interaction will be largely shaped by advances in this field.
Taiwan, for example, has seen a record increase in its online population – now 17 million strong – in large part due to the rising popularity of social media. Similarly, more and more single people are using the same to find lifetime partners in real life.
Also known as Love Apartment in Mandarin, iPartment was designed to appeal to females which allow them to create their own virtual apartment, accessorize it, and invite someone to share it with. This is how Polin Chu found her husband: she accidentally sent an invite to Tom Sung to (virtually) live with her.
The two have been married for three years now after Tom Sung showed up on her (virtual) door and became her roommate. Tom Sung said, “My wife was unfamiliar with the functions on the website, so she accidentally sent me an invitation to move in with her. I thought there was no harm trying, so I agreed. That’s how it all began, by accident.”
“I didn’t know I invited him. But he turned out to be cute, so I just left the mistake uncorrected,” was how Polin took “advantage” of her oversight.
The trend appeals to young singles, but eventually, it is going to attract the 35-55 age group. This category was once a “declining market” because of the shrinking pool of eligible singles for women who are getting to a certain age. Now, thanks to revolutionary yet relevant advances in technology, everything is possible – even finding love in the most inopportune circumstances.
This is because people are becoming open-minded and non-judgmental when it comes to finding love using all available means. Social media is going to be around until the foreseeable future, and those who are at first hesitant to embrace it as a tool to find love online will eventually catch up. The conservative Taiwanese have embraced iPartment and are seeing the benefits; the Westerners will no doubt do the same.
iPartment plans to go global this year to connect people and potential partners around the world. In China, iPartment has a staggering presence of 26 million members, and the market is currently valued at US$300 million, three times that of iPartment estimates for Taiwan.
“Social media allows you to make friends anytime anywhere. You can find those with similar schedules as you. You can interact with each other online and offline. There’s no time restriction,” said Jamy Lin, iPartment’s GM in Taiwan.
It is this very nature that made social media extremely successful. Cross-cultural relationship has virtually become a global reality, and that trend is going to continue as long as social media and online dating sites are around.
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