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Is social media shaking up the dating world?

Submitted by Steven Savage on October 1, 2013 – 1:48 pmOne Comment

Illustration courtesy of Byron Buslig

The invention of the Internet, smart phones and social media has seemingly transformed the dating world and made traditional dating practices a thing of the past. The air of mystery surrounding a crush disappears when all you have to do is look them up online.

Traditionally, if a man wanted to “put his bid in” or date a woman, he had to throw on his best clothes and cologne, and then go out to meet her. He had to make a memorable impression and prove his value to the woman. He would take her on a few dates, meet her parents, and start “going steady.” Women would go through similar efforts to ensure romantic success.

In the 21st century, single people are turning to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to meet that special someone. An eye-catching profile picture and a thoughtful message can go a long way when trying to make a first impression. Social media allows a person to craft how others may view them. A person can display their best traits while keeping their secrets in the dark.

Some may feel like it is a waste of time to go out to a bar, nightclub or dating mixer just to get to know someone when social media provides a vast array of options that fit the profile of a partner they desire. It seems like the “tech generation” spends more time behind computer screens and cellular devices than actually participating in real world activities to foster new relationships.

It is seemingly easy to meet someone online. All you need is a few mutual friends or their name. If someone is interested in you, they can look through your profile and read about your interests and hobbies to determine if they might be interested in getting to know you better. A person can find out almost everything they want to know from your profile without asking you a list of boring questions to decide whether or not you are worth their time.

To some people this takes away the fun and spontaneity of getting to know someone. “I think social media is bad for the dating process because it makes dating more competitive and it causes people to have higher standards,” said Jessica Johnson, a sophomore marketing major.

“I believe that social media has caused practices such as speed dating and blind dates to become non-existent,” said Dustin King, a freshman English major. “Social media has caused people to investigate someone before they even consider a blind date. They build up all these opinions of a person before they even get to know them.”

Television shows like MTV’s “Catfish” are becoming popular as more people turn to social media to find a mate. The premise of the show is to allow people who fell in love through social media to meet in person. People may spend months or years maintaining a committed relationship with someone they have never met outside the digital world. Viewers either watch people meet their soul mates for the first time or get their hearts broken. Since the show has come out, people are wary of dating on social media for the following reasons:

  • Deception: It can be very hard for people to decipher good from negative. Sometimes, people use other pictures to create fake profiles, either to boost their self-esteem or get revenge on someone. Honest people are mixed in with the dishonest. Also, domestically and internationally, people can create fake profiles to con people into giving them material possessions.
  • Chemistry: There is no sense of chemistry when a person is online. A person’s energy, body language, sound of voice and smell contribute to chemistry. Without it, there may always be something missing.
  • Long-distance: That special someone may live too far away.

“Before social media came along, I used to meet women through friends, social events and mutual hobbies,” King said. “I met my current girlfriend through mutual friends on Facebook. We talked for a few weeks, became really close friends and decided to meet up. Once we got a chance to spend time with one another, we built chemistry and decided to start dating. We have been together for four years.”

It seems that, social media is going to continue to push traditional dating practices on the back burner. Perhaps people want to know who they are dealing with before they decide to let them into their world.

One Comment »

  • Admir says:

    Personally, social media can be both and good for dating. However, I would not rely on social media to find the “perfect match.”

    As with the show “Catfish,” people take advantage and lie to one another. Generally, people will end up getting hurt looking for love on social networking sites.

    Great article!