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Before the Internet, there were personal ads, and before that, lonely shepherds carved detailed works of art into tree bark to communicate their longing for human contact.Since the earliest days of mass media and technology, people have been finding ways to broadcast their desires and find connections that might have otherwise eluded them.

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Less-Than-Fun fact: homosexuality was outlawed and punishable by death in the UK by wife-murderer Henry VIII and continued to be illegal until 1967. A., anyone accused of being a "sodomite" doing "buggery" was also legally sentenced to death as of 1776.) Coded words, female names and other signals in personals were channels to privately expressing vulnerability and find companionship that society forbade.

During this time, gathering sites for gay men known as Molly Houses were subject to regular raids by law enforcement. 1727: Women Get Smacked Down for Expressing Personal Desire In 1727, Englishwoman Helen Morrison became the first woman to place an ad in a Lonely Hearts column.

For $3, users could answer questionnaires and receive a list of potential matches, a process that is still used by many dating sites.

1990s-2000s: Second Wave of Mainstream The explosion of the Internet in the mid-to-late 1990s created a new context for personals, and by the end of the decade, they had become relatively acceptable.

1920s: Lonely WWI Soldiers Seek Pen Pals Personal ads went mainstream again in the early 20th century, when social pressures to get married by 21 (and thus, expectations for relationships) were much lower, thankfully than their earlier incarnations.

Many of the postings were simply calls for friends or pen pals.But as magazines and periodicals such as The Wedding Bell in the US and The Correspondent, Matrimonial Herald and Marriage Gazette in the UK hit the newsstands with immense popularity, matchmaking and personals took off as well, creating the first wave of true mainstream normalization for the personal ad.Late 1800s: The Scam Emerges You know, someone's always got to ruin the party.I mean, one could argue that even Voyager 1's Golden Record is kind of a massive, interstellar personal ad (complete with the recorded sound of a kiss! It's as if humanity decided to document all our best features and send them into space with this message: So dating apps are really the latest manifestation of human beings doing what we've always done -- create new tools to communicate and then turn around and use those tools to find love, sex and companionship.1695: The First Personal Ads According to history professor H. Cocks (seriously --The Best Name Ever for an academic) personal ads began as a way to help British bachelors find eligible wives.If we are going to improve the way people meet one another, we're going to have to do so by questioning the existing paradigms of online dating and figuring out how to do it better.

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