Mediated dating, particularly by computer technology, used to be an embarrassing and profoundly lonely pursuit.

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Online dating has never been more popular than it is now, and it's not uncommon anymore to actually know someone who managed to develop a successful relationship after signing up on a dating site and using it to meet up with potential matches.

The biggest platforms like Match, Zoosk, e Harmony, Plenty of Fish and Ok Cupid have millions of monthly users, but a sizeable user base and a dominant spot in the market doesn't mean they've ultimately cracked the code when it comes to solving everyone's love lives.

Kate Bush captured both the allure and the sorrow of the emotional surrogacy of computers in her song Deeper Understanding (1989): Whether people took out small ads, used professional matchmakers, employed computer dating company Dateline, or tried television or phone dating, most people kept their technology-mediated dating to themselves.

I’ve found that this reticence and embarrassment is something that surrounds pre-internet dating.

But rather than socialising with each other they were engrossed in the more private world of their mobile phones, seeking something completely personal: a sexual partner (albeit not necessarily just for sex).

The group of friends were, in Sherry Turkle’s words “alone together” – with moments of togetherness erupting when a particularly ridiculous response or attractive photo just had to be shared among the group.

Whether you suffer from premature balding or you live alone with eight cats, Settle for Love is the place to be upfront about it. is a dating app that's been referred to as "the Tinder for weed." Like Tinder, you can choose to connect with people nearby (or pass) just for fun and friendship or for a serious relationship -- and everyone who uses it already knows that it's a community for marijuana smokers.

The founder apparently came up with the idea after the matches he got from other dating services were turned off by his smoking habits.

A much commented-upon new development sees people going out in groups yet – once they’ve got their Mojitos – retreating into the private, disembodied social worlds of their phones.