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Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of Communication Studies at University of Kansas, was surprised to learn that 7% of people who married after meeting online had met for the first time on social networking sites like Facebook, My Space and Class Mates – not matchmaking chat rooms, or online dating sites or via other romance-centric cyber connections.

MORE: Inside Tinder: Meet the Guys Who Turned Dating Into an Addiction “It was really, really astonishing, since [romantic relationships] aren’t the purpose of these sites,” he says of the data, which came from e Harmony, the online dating service.

Hall decided to investigate the connection, and learn more about who was meeting their significant other this way, and how well these marriages fared.

While there’s no truth filter on sites like Facebook, and there is certainly some amount of self-promotion and exaggeration, having your circle of friends visit your page can keep you pretty honest, which means by and large, your social network version of you is relatively close to the real thing – at least that’s what the studies show. Conversations, observations and interactions on social networking sites may be more casual and low risk, relieved of the pressure and anticipation of a potential date (or rejection for a potential date) that shadow every picture, message and response on dating sites.

“In part, social networking sites provide a low risk, high reward place to meet people,” says Hall.

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