That's right, the next big thing in dating isn't the latest dating site, or even facebook. It's the popular scrabble-like game that everyone is playing.
Zynga, the games creator, polled 100,000 players and found that 1/10 said that playing the game has "led directly to a hookup." Some other fun stats from the poll:
- 40% said they would date someone through the game
- 43% say they have cheated on someone...in the game
- 24% say they have exchanged their WWF handle rather than a phone number
I personally know more than one person whose own relationships were affected by online gaming, especially with popular games like World of Warcraft. Before the games were online, people met in person to play with others who shared the interest. Why would we think it would work any differently when the games went online?
We do everything online - plan vacations, pay bills, track fitness plans. We regularly use sites like Match or Plenty of Fish to meet people.
Sure, it's easy to think that because the games are online, the relationships formed while playing will stay there - and therefore, pose no real threat to "real life" relationships.
I have to disagree with that for two reasons. First of all - what's to say those relationships will stay online? I have dozens of friendships that started online, and moved to real life. That's not even counting any of the guys I've met on dating sites - those are just friends I've met through blogs and twitter.
Second - if a couple is having problems, no good can come from one person finding companionship elsewhere. Even if it stays online, it drives the couple further and further apart - until mending the problems seems all but impossible.
So what's the secret? Do we avoid any online interaction once we start dating someone? That seems extreme.
It's really all about boundaries; we set them in real life, and we need to find a way to set them in our online world as well. Social networking, whether it's on a site like facebook or a game like WWF, is here to stay. It's time everyone figured out how it fits in every part of life - including relationships.