Effective dating definitely needs to take place in person, the same way your grandfather did it, but I see no good reason why happens—and for the most important mission in most of our lives, it makes no sense to crush your ability to meet great people to try a first date with because it’s not as good a story to have met them online.
I have a friend that goes on two or three first dates every week with people he already knows are potentially good personality and physical matches for him—how you find the right person, and good luck keeping up with him meeting people the old-fashioned way.
For socially weird or anxious or shy people, trying to meet a stranger in public is a nightmare, and even for someone charming and outgoing, it’s a grueling task that requires a lot of luck.
The alternative that often happens is meeting someone through friends, which can work, but it’s limiting yourself to single people your closest friends and family happen to know.
The first prominent online dating site was Match.com, which launched in 1995.