The Invisible Contours of Online Dating Communities: A Social Network Perspective


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Journal of Social Structure

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Subject: Social Sciences


eISSN: 1529-1227





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VOLUME 18 , ISSUE 1 (December 2017) > List of articles

The Invisible Contours of Online Dating Communities: A Social Network Perspective

Diane H. Felmlee / Derek A. Kreager

Keywords : Online social network, dating, ingroup preferences, demographic characteristics

Citation Information : Journal of Social Structure. Volume 18, Issue 1, Pages 0-0, DOI:

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Published Online: 11-March-2018



This study analyzed the e-mail exchange network of participants of a national dating website. The investigation examined whether aggregated partner preferences give rise to distinct, “invisible,” clusters in online dating networks that structure dating opportunities and result in homophilous subgroups. The findings identified and visualized the ten largest network clusters of participants who interacted with each other and examined the dater characteristics most responsible for cluster membership. Rated attractiveness and age were the strongest cluster correlates, whereas education and race were relatively uncommon determinants. In sum, daters’ interdependent actions created aggregate communities unseen by the users themselves, but no less influential for dating opportunities, that were based more on attractiveness and age than on race and education.

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