Online dating is basically just plain old dating, now. The landscape of meeting people, dating, and even just simply interacting with people has evolved drastically in recent years. People are judged by profile updates, and their ability to take a selfie, rather than the actual character they possess.
Most people won’t even interact with a live human, unless they’ve been given the precautionary guarantee that they meet, or exceed social expectations on the internet.
In fact, there seems to be fairly obvious proof that online dating, and “dating,” are the exact same thing – with no differentiator at all between the two. These aren’t the only ways the two have been merged – and they don’t necessarily have to be bad – it’s just like any relationship – what you make it.
1. Does anyone talk on the phone anymore? It doesn’t seem like it. Text messages are lobbed back and forth and serve as a very ordinary way of conducting full-blown conversations. This is especially true for seasoned couples that are thoroughly familiar with each other. Dates, conversations, kind words, and even full-blown-arguments often take place via text message. Forget talking in-person, we can’t even pick up the phone.
2. Your relationship status is key. If you’re in a relationship, you better have that noted on your Facebook page, or else. If you don’t note a relationship on Facebook – you’re seen as someone who is afraid to commit, or someone that is trying to hide something. If you do, and the relationship status isn’t confirmed by the other person – well, that creates an awkward dating situation – that pretty much impacts everyone, whether the two met online, or not.
3. The number of “likes” you get on a selfie denotes social status. It’s pretty simple, and it used to be exclusive to the “non-dating” world, but now, I know some people who will not even approach someone that they know gets a ton of likes on a photo. The frequent conversations of, “OMG DID YOU SEE [Insert name here] GOT 180 LIKES ON HER SELFIE?! SHE’S SO PRETTY.” It adds intimidation, yet it has nothing to do with the character of a person – even when that person is right in front of you. Again, the online taking over the real life that’s right in front of us.
4. Tweet about it first. It’s probably bad enough that hefty news, family members being sick, personal illness, a new job, promotion, job loss, etc. is often shared via text message, rather than by phone call, or talking in person to your mate – but even worse if your first instinct is to tweet about that awesome promotion, or how sad you are at the loss of a friend/family member – rather than communicate directly with the person. People are often more connected to their social networking accounts, than they are with their friends, family, and significant others.
5. Relationship challenges/successes are often broadcasted, and glamorized. “Have you seen how happy Sarah is now?!” “Yes! But, did you see what James tweeted yesterday?! Looks like him, and Allison are on the rocks!!” The good times are great, because everyone knows how great they are – and the bad times are even worse, because everyone knows how bad they are. There is also the very real argument that this behavior has someone trivialized relationships as a whole. But, that’s another story entirely.
6. Social networking was created to be online dating. You may use it to stay connected with friends, and family, but let’s not forget about the fact that the top information disclosed on profiles is your employment status, location, and most importantly – relationship status. You may be in a relationship, but social networking sites are used to connect people – and in an environment rich with opportunity, and bankrupt of self-control, you’re left with a rather polarizing space that can create relationships of all sorts, as often as it can destroy them.
7. You’re never not connected, and if you are – you’re deprived. It’s your laptop, it’s your phone, it’s your tablet, it’s your eReader – it can even be your TV, car, and yes, refrigerator. Everything is streaming, and everything is connected to WiFi. You’re constantly looking, clicking, and evaluating the world around you – as it appears online, instead of as it appears in front of you.