We all heard lots of whining about the government shut down in the last couple of weeks. I think it's been universally accepted that that was a giant mess, but one of the residual effects was one I found fascinating. As an online dating expert can you possibly guess how I'm going to tie in something about the mess of a government shut down and online dating? Hits to "dateapolitican.com" dropped drastically? No.
But seriously, according to the Washington Business Journal, Zoosk.com reported increases in Washington D.C. user activity to their site by 92% during the first week of the government shutdown and 110% during the second week. There were also increases in profile browsing, messaging, and new user registrations. Sugardaddy.com and some pornography sites also noted increases in activity in the D.C. area.
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So what is the inference here? Furloughed workers who saw more time on their hands get to start thinkin' 'bout lovin'? Looks like it.
I want to take it a step further with the implications across a broader theme.
The other day I came across an article on from the research company PEW called The State of Romance in America, detailing statistics of adults and their relationships statuses. The most interesting part of the 2006 survey, for me, was the fact that only 16% of single Americans are actually looking for a relationship partner. So assuming the 2006 numbers haven't changed drastically, if you're single and actually looking, the pool of eligible folks that are actually looking back is only 16%?! Your perfect person may be out there and totally single but not doing anything about it. That's a whole lot of missed connections.
Granted, some of these singles are in committed (non-married) relationships, but only 26%—that still left a minimum of another 55% of totally eligible singles that were actively not looking. So what are all these single people doing? And why are they so inactive in love? The government shutdown/furloughed employees seemed to offer a bit of an explanation—are all these singles still just so preoccupied by work that looking for a date takes a backseat to looking for a date? Does it take getting furloughed and having nothing else to do for you to have time to put some effort into finding someone?
I think the answer is here, and evolving. An even newer set of research from PEW came out this week with stats on how many people are online dating (lots) and how the stigma is diminishing (duh). The amount of people who know couples either married or in long-term relationships from online dating is also growing.
All of this is awesome for both the 16% who are actively looking, but also for the other 55% that aren't. As dating sites become more mainstream and more mobile, there become fewer and fewer work excuses for why you can't start your search for love.
So next time you're in line for Starbucks, open a dating app and send a message instead of your usual WordsWithFriends, help yourself and help grow the 16%.
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