Meet online, then meet in person?

The Digital Future Study compares the differences between men and women in how their online connections leads to offline meetings.

Many of us make new friends online. Some of these friendships subsequently move offline to face-to-face meetings. Are men or women more likely to meet more friends originally met online in person?

The Digital Future Reports have looked at this question for more than a decade. In the earlier years, on average men had more of these meetings than women. For example, in 2005, males met on average 1.8 friends originally met on line in person — this compared to 1.1 similar friends for females.

This difference continued, year-after-year, until 2013, when men and women had virtually the same number of these friends (3.7 for men versus 3.8 for women).

From 2013 until the current study, we did not find a stable pattern for men compared to women. Overall, over the years, as the internet has become more established in society, we have seen an increase in the number of friends originally met online and subsequently met in person for both men and women.

However, we have also seen the edge held by males in having such friends more often than females largely disappear, with the exception of 2016, when we again saw more online friends met in person for men (6.8) than women (5.3).

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October 10, 2017