While online dating used to be somewhat taboo, millions of people around the world are now using apps and websites to find love.
And a new study indicates that online dating is even impacting the nature of society.
Researchers suggest that this new way of looking for love is connecting communities in novel ways, and even leads to more interracial and stable marriage.
In a new study, Dr Josue Ortega from the University of Essex and Mr Philipp Hergovich from the University of Vienna looked at the effect online dating is having on society.
Before online dating existed, most people tended to meet their partner through a loose connection – such as a friend of a friend.
But online dating has changed that, and people now meet strangers through these sites.
And while you might think that online dating takes away the personal aspect of courting, Dr Ortega explained that he doesn’t believe this is the case.
He told MailOnline: ‘I do not think meeting someone on Tinder is much different than meeting them in a bar.
‘Online dating is a start, usually followed by the standard romantic courtship, like dates, going dancing, going out together, and so on.
‘Online dating can have some negative sides, but the fact that exposes us to people outside our networks is definitely a big plus.’
This new way of meeting sets up social links that were previously rare – such as interracial couples, according to the researchers.
They added: ‘Understanding the evolution of interracial marriage is an important problem, for intermarriage is widely considered a measure of social distance in our societies.’
In their study, the researchers simulated what happened when extra links are introduced into a social network made up of men and women from different races.
In the network, everyone wants to marry a person of the opposite sex, but can only marry someone who they have a connection with.
This leads to a society with low levels of interracial marriage.
But when the researchers added links between people without a connection – such as through online dating – the level of interracial marriage rapidly increased.
Speaking to MIT Technology Review, the researchers said: ‘Our model predicts nearly complete racial integration upon the emergence of online dating, even if the number of partners that individuals meet from newly formed ties is small.’
Adding links was also found to increase the strength of marriages in society.
They added: ‘Our model also predicts that marriages created in a society with online dating tend to be stronger.’
The researchers compared the results from their models to the actual rates of interracial marriage.
Interestingly, they found that the rate of increase changed shortly after the introduction of online dating.
The researchers said: ‘It is intriguing that shortly after the introduction of the first dating websites in 1995, like Match.com, the percentage of new marriages created by interracial couples increased rapidly.’
The rate jumped even further in 2014, shortly after the introduction of Tinder.
While the findings suggest that online dating is driving the increase in interracial marriage, the researchers note that there are other factors adding to the change – such as a reduction in the percentage of white people in the US.
Speaking about why more diverse societies are beneficial, Dr Ortega told MailOnline: ‘I believe, like many, that more diverse societies have greater advantages.
‘They tend to fare better in socioeconomic status, are usually bilingual, and have well-known human capital gains.’