(The Root) — According to a new study, meeting someone online has become the second-most-common way to connect with a partner. The most common way is still to be introduced by friends, but online dating seems to be a trend that's not going away anytime soon. However, the idea of finding a soul mate online is evolving, and online dating sites like aren't the only options anymore.

Social networks are now where people are meeting (and dating) like-minded individuals. While the guy who "poked" you on Facebook probably won't turn out to be a love connection, the guy who shares your interests could make for a potential date. Using Spotify along with apps I talked about in an earlier The Root article helps you find friends that share your musical tastes and lets you take it from there. Following someone's Instagram account or even asking a follow-up question about someone's Yelp review could be the thing that sparks a new relationship.


The reason social networks are effective matchmakers is that you are connecting with people you know already share your interests, and the connection doesn't necessarily have to be about dating right away. You have the chance to get to know someone in a context that's comfortable for both of you because whether you're discussing shared likes or debating different opinions, you have a slightly better chance of getting to know the real person on the other side of the screen.

So while I'm not advising you to give up your BlackPeopleMeet account right away, I would encourage you to think outside the box when exploring online options to meet others. Join a Twitter chat, follow someone you found interesting and tweet that person regularly. You never know — your Words With Friends partner may turn out to be your life partner, too!

Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.