'Netting the internet romance

The Internet has become more than an information superhighway. For some, it has become the road to true romance, for others a route to fast friendships...

When Nyani-lisha S. Martin '97 responded in May of last year to a posted message on an Internet newsgroup, she got more than she bargained for.

Martin started exchanging e-mail messages with Bill, who posted the original message, and the two of them became good friends.

A few months later, the regular posters to the newsgroup arranged to meet in New York. But Martin had more expectations than most.

At the party, she met Bill for the first time and they hit it off.


"We really liked each other and we started to write each other [even more]," she says.

Martin and Bill are still dating.

And Martin says that if it had not been for the Internet, she doubts the two would have ever gotten together.

Martin is just one of many students at Harvard who have met significant others or maintained relationships through the Internet, which has expanded its role from a provider of information and mailbox to a modern-age matchmaker.

With 6,299 of the 6,420 Harvard students, or 98 percent, holding user accounts, according to Harvard Arts and Sciences Computer Services Director Franklin M. Steen, the potential for finding romance on the 'Net is greater than ever.

Every first-year has an account and the 14,000 total users of the Harvard system exchange a total of 175,000 e-mail messages each day, Steen writes in an e-mail message. This means that each user sends and/or receives approximately 13 messages daily, he says.


The newsgroups seem to be quite the breeding ground for romance.

In addition to Martin, Rachel M. Kadel '98 met her current boyfriend as a result of newsgroup activity.

Kadel and Nico, then a student at MIT, were both regular posters on a newsgroup that discussed religion and scientology.