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The first use case for social networks, started after the birth of the commercial internet, was helping people find the perfect mate (well, seriously, these were started by guys, so the idea was to help them find girls).The basic idea occurred about seven decades before the first online social networks.Facebook has more than 2 billion active users who visit the site each month, 214 million of whom are in the U. These users check Facebook an average of 14 times a day, spending 50 minutes each day on the site. It also stands in stark contrast to the state of marital bliss just a few decades before.In 1960, only 28 percent of the adult population was unmarried. Add to that the problem of embellished profiles and profile pictures that make a potentially exciting first date a disappointing last encounter — and users get frustrated and leave.Sharing photos and content was clunky in a world devoid of smartphones with digital cameras, and the lack of broadband connections necessary to support content-rich sites made it hard to run the site on the desktop computers with dial-up connections people had in their homes at the time.But it’s Weinreich’s Six Degrees patent — giving people the ability to see people they do not know by making the friends of their friends and their friends’ friends visible online — that’s become the underpinning of online social networking.

The math behind his claim suggests that finding someone’s honest-to-goodness soulmate is a once in every 10,000 lifetimes kind of thing. Before online matchmaking intermediaries like and Tinder tried their hand at increasing those odds, there was Frigyes Karinthy, Six Degrees, Friendster, not to mention village matchmakers. Please Don’t Make Me Kiss a Thousand Frogs For millenia, people living in isolated villages and towns found it hard to meet anyone beyond the borders of the small communities in which they lived and worked, never mind their perfect soulmate.

Friendster shut down five years later in 2009, owing its lack of success to technology challenges that made the user experience slow and cumbersome in the face of a more powerful and focused Facebook challenger that launched two years after they did.

Ironically, a year later, Friendster sold its social networking patents to Facebook for million.

Updates from those friends and across those social networks could be seen, liked, shared and commented on, creating the user engagement that would sustain and grow Facebook over the next decade-plus.

More important, the new online friendships Facebook fostered could be easily converted to offline friendships and meet-ups, since everyone went to the same school or one close by. Unlike the online social networks that came before it, Facebook asked its users for one piece of information that is, today, the cornerstone of the dating app it will soon launch.

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