They offer a courtship process more akin to what people hope for offline.

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But not all couples who find each other online do so through designated dating services and sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Linked In are increasingly doing double-duty as both social networks and soul mate networks.

Of partners who coupled up before 2000, less than 10 percent said they had met on social networking sites.

Five years later, that number had doubled to 21 percent, a University of Oxford paper reported last year.

And then there’s Rayco García, 28, and Nuria Sendra, 35, a Spanish couple who met on Instagram following a sticker giveaway for fans of the photo-sharing app.

Though the two had “never considered using websites for dating,” García sent a message to Sendra explaining why he deserved the prize.

She thought it was “funny” and the two continued their correspondence.Lengthy Facebook messaging sessions and video chats on Apple’s Face Time turned into García trekking 1,200 miles to visit Sendra in the south of Spain. The internet has become the second most common way for American couples to meet, just after being introduced by friends, according to a 2012 Stanford University study. “Noze”), he was a black bear with red eyes and antennae.She was “Dianna_2ns,” a pink monkey nodding her head to the twangs of an electric guitar in the Phish “room” on, a music-streaming site that lets users take turns DJ-ing to an audience of animated avatars.A fan of the band Phish, Hank, a 23 year-old Brooklynite who works at a tech startup, spends hours a day on Turntable while she’s at the office, listening to music and messaging with other Phisheads in a public chatroom.“With dating sites, when you message people back and forth, you’re very much crafting the message,” says Hank, who once tried unsuccessfully to find Mr. But on Turntable, “you’re not editing yourself as much…You’re just being you.”While traditional online dating sites offer the internet equivalent of a speed dating session, social networking sites are the cocktail parties of the web: people, in the course of their meticulous self-representation online, share what they love to do, not who they want to fall in love with; they aren’t under pressure to fall head overheels; and they can bring friends along for the ride.These sites also put users in a position to meet a significant other without having to admit they need dating help.