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Communication in dating refers to users’ opportunity to use various forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to interact with specific potential partners on the dating site before meeting face-to-face. The mechanisms of communication vary considerably across the online dating landscape. Asynchronous forms of communication, including messaging systems that approximate e-mail and simpler, less personalized forms of communication that quickly and concisely convey some measure of interest, are commonplace.

Alternatively, users may also choose real-time, synchronous forms of communication, such as live instant-message chat and live interaction via webcams that allows users to see and hear each other. Many widespread empirical procedures examine romantic attraction from only one person’s perspective. Speed-dating procedures overcome this limitation, as each speed-date involves two participants who simultaneously explore their romantic potential with the other person. The advantage of speed-dating is that it allows social scientists to study initial attraction dynamics between two individuals who could plausibly pursue a meaningful romantic relationship together in the near future.