In the age of online dating and #MeToo, does a 20th-century singleton's diary still speak to us?

Based on Jane Austen's novel Pride And Prejudice, Bridget Jones's Diary evolved from author Helen Fielding's Independent newspaper columns, which charted the adventures of the 30-something Chardonnay-swilling singleton. Millions of copies have been sold globally, spawning three further books and three film adaptations starring Renee Zellweger as Bridget and Colin Firth as Mark Darcy.

Next month sees the publication of a 25th anniversary edition of Bridget Jones's Diary, with added extracts from author Fielding's early journalism and musings about Bridget Jones in the 21st century. "Sometimes people claim that Bridget was the godmother of chick lit," writes Fielding. "But the truth is it wasn't just Bridget or me, it was zeitgeist. The fictional representation of single women had not caught up with reality."

"It was a revolutionary text when it first came out," says author and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup. "For anyone who was a young woman in the 1990s, it's like having a book equivalent of the soundtrack to your life, summing up the singleton lifestyle that so many of us were living. There's nothing in this book, including her many attempts at creating the perfect relationship, that isn't relevant today.

"Much as we talk the talk, I don't think the world has changed dramatically on the romantic front, or in terms of people aspiring to find the right partner. And I think Daniel Cleavers are in great abundance. I don't really see what would be out of date in the book, apart from the smoking.

"It's such a relief to read about someone real rather than a prototype of what we think humanity should be like," adds Frostrup, author of Desire: 100 of Literature's Sexiest Stories. "If every single book about a woman was some prototype feminist saying all the right things and behaving in an absolutely admirable and militantly feminist way, it would be a dreary world."

Alexandra Heminsley was a junior press officer at Picador when a young woman called Bridget arrived for two weeks' work experience in 2000. Little did she know it was actually Renee Zellweger who was there to research the part of her alter ego.

"A smiley blonde woman who had a very posh accent and was quite amenable about helping out seemed completely normal," recalls Heminsley, author of Some Body To Love. "Only the publicity director knew who she was. I'm sure she had quite a laugh watching me try to befriend Renee.

"We sat on opposite sides of the partition, so if I stood up I could see her desk. The phones diverted to me and to her. There was no social media then, you had to answer the phone. After two or three days, I started to hear her say, 'Hello, publicity,' just like me, and I wondered if she was taking the mickey. After she'd left, she wrote to thank me for looking after her, so I didn't feel like I'd been taken for a fool – and I had a laugh with my boss about it."

Heminsley continues: "The whole pressure around body image and counting and quantifying yourself the way those diary entries open with all the statistics, is definitely still relevant and is fuelled by social media. You can get your digital calorie counter and your Apple watch counting your steps. She would be counting so much more in those diary entries now, the likes, the steps ..."

Glasgow-based bestselling novelist Fiona Gibson, whose new book The Dog Share is out in March, reflects: "Recently, I dipped back into the book which grew out of those columns, expecting it to be horribly dated. It is dated, of course; sexism abounds, Bridget tolerates it and believes her life is incomplete until she meets Mr Right.

"But so much of Bridget still resonates today – like that feeling that she must better herself and be a proper grown-up. Back then it seems almost quaint that, in her world, this amounted to calorie-counting while trying – and failing catastrophically – to limit her consumption of cigarettes and booze.

"Pre-Botox, fillers, Instagram and the Kardashian-influenced contouring make-up that grew from it, there's an innocence about Bridget's yearnings to be a better woman.

"My daughter, who's 20, would find her terribly dated. But her peer group is familiar with loneliness and finding solace and joy in the company of friends. I think we'll always warm to the idea of a young woman bumbling through life, cocking up regularly, making us feel better about our own screw-ups."

Vogue columnist Nell Frizzell, author of The Panic Years, was 12 when Bridget Jones's Diary was first published in 1996, and her mother wouldn't let her read it. "She just wanted to protect me from the archetype of the neurotic self-hating woman. In a funny way that was a real feminist act on my mum's part. She knew I had enough baggage about my weight and my looks and didn't want me to have that exacerbated by the book.

"But I look back at Bridget Jones and the 'Smug Marrieds' and her feelings of being out of sync with so many people around her and of running out of time, and I completely understand. Bridget Jones is still really relatable because unfortunately, we have not changed the way men think about commitment and fertility, and therefore women are [often] still expected to do that heavy lifting on their own."

In terms of the workplace sexual harassment Jones puts up with, Frizzell says: "The #MeToo movement has shown that stuff is still happening in quite a lot of industries which we think of as aspirational and glamorous – film, TV, theatre. The way it's handled in the book and films, in a Carry On, bum-pinching, cleavage-ogling way, is now more uncomfortable with an audience.

"But a lot of people are still sleeping with their bosses and massively regretting it."

Daisy Buchanan, whose debut novel Insatiable is published in February, read the books as a teenager. "I think it's relevant today. What's really sad is that we've become a lot more earnest and I wish we could learn to laugh at ourselves a little more.

"I think in this day and age the single Bridget would have Tinder binges with diary entries like: 'Must find sensible, functional man and not look at Tinder because it's all a disaster' and the next day would write: 'Hungover. Frantically swiping.'"

Bridget Jones's Diary (And Other Writing): 25th Anniversary Edition by Helen Fielding is published by Picador, priced £14.99. Available February 4.