How has digital technology changed the way we date? So much so that Aziz Ansari — yes that Aziz Ansart — decided to write rigorous book full of statistics and interesting facts about dating to prove it. Modern Romance is a "comprehensive, in-depth sociological investigation" examining "the many challenges of looking for love in the digital age.
Ansari partnered up with Eric Klinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University, to design and conduct "a massive research project, one that would require more than a year of investigation in cities across the world and involve some of the leading experts on love and romance." After conducting interviews and focus groups with hundreds of people in seven cities, Ansari and Klinenberg have written a very smart, wide-ranging, and, maybe most importantly, hilarious book on the current state of dating and love.
Modern Romance includes almost everything you need to navigate the weird world of online dating, from tips on how to send the perfect first text message to lots of graphs and charts from real social science studies to help you understand what, exactly, you're dealing with when you try to find a soulmate online.
In 1932, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania "looked through five thousand consecutive marriage licenses on file for people who lived in the city of Philadelphia.
TIME: Tell us how you decided on this medium—screenshots of texts and emails.
Neel Shah: I have a friend in New York, and every time we would be dating people, she would always forward me emails or texts from a guy, and I would do the same with her, and a lot of times we had different takes on what the texts or emails meant.
Ansari learned that "[B]etween 20 more than one third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site.
Online dating was the single biggest way people met their spouses.52 percent of that group would call, and only 8 percent would text.) Since so much of our life is lived staring at a screen, it makes sense that texts would be more common than phone calls these days."According to a 2014 survey of 2,712 eighteen-to thirty-year-olds who'd had a relationship end during the previous year, 56 percent said they had broken up using digital media," which means a minority of people broke up with their partner face-to-face.Texting was by far the most popular method for breaking up.We figured out the rough beats of their relationship, but everything else we didn’t really plan.We wrote the whole thing as if we were conducting a relationship in real time, and I didn’t show her any of my responses with my friend, and she didn’t show me any of her responses to her friend until the very end.One time specifically she forwarded me this email chain from a guy, and she was like “Isn’t this great, it looks like he wants to take this relationship to the next level,” and I read it and it almost seemed as if he was breaking up with her.