The digital avoidance of difference

A few months ago, I was surprised to see an advert for a Christian dating website on the tube. I just discovered, reading Arlie Hochschild’s The Outsourced Self, quite how widespread this is. From pg 38:

Given the profits to be made, it comes as no surprise to see the current explosion of online dating sites:, craigslist, Yahoo! Personals,, Matchmaker, LoveHappens, GreatExpectations, OKCupid, TheRightOne, PerfectMatch, and more. Sites devoted to matching daters by religion—including Catholic Mingle, AdventistSingles, LDS Mingle—are now commonplace. As are sites focused on particular ethnicity or race, such as AsianSinglesConnection, Filipina Heart, LatinSinglesConnection, JDate, or InterracialMatch. Others address elderly daters: Silver Singles, Prime Singles, and Senior Friendfinder. Still others specify levels of intelligence (GoodGenes), education (TheRightStuff), occupation (FarmsOnly, MilitaryCupid), sexual orientation (GayCupid, PinkCupid, Adam4Adam), or disabilities (DeafSingles Connection).

Evidence suggests these platforms do not create the impulse in question but they must surely increase the extent to which it is acted upon by normalising assortativity and making it much easier to achieve in practice.

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