Written By Contributor Writer Marie Nesbitt
Social media has defined our generation for the last 10 years. It has reinvented the way we consume our news, giving us round the clock access to events happening around the world and connecting us with people on the opposite ends of the Earth in a matter of seconds. Social media has empowered people to become citizen journalists and have their voice heard, opening up a channel for everyone to report and comment on the day’s events and providing a more holistic point of view on a single event.
With all of the positive aspects of social media, there are many negative side effects that come with it. We have grown to rely on this form of media, making our social profiles an extension of ourselves, sharing everything to everyone with the click of a button. It has changed the way we make and grow relationships of any kind, practically replacing the need for face-to-face interactions. Because of this, online dating has overtaken the dating scene and made classic forms of dating – meeting someone, asking them out, getting to know their likes and dislikes, their personality, what makes them tick on the first, second, third date and beyond – all have become “old fashioned”. What should be standard has now been rendered moot. However, the internet has allowed for many new forms of dating and finding relationships to become explored, especially sites such as Backpage, that now cease to exist. Though, in Backpage’s absence, their website has been replaced by a number of alternatives that offer a very similar service.
The Old Fashion Ways
Being single in this social media-driven generation has become harder. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic and followed the “old fashioned” school of dating, the kind where online dating is the exception, not the rule. I consider myself a strong, independent woman, but when it comes to dating, I still think that the guy should pursue the woman, woo her, be the one to ask her out, take her out on actual dates, etc. But this process has slowly become “out dated”. In today’s society, where social media has dictated the need for instantaneous gratification, the process of dating has evolved into online interactions. Tinder, eHarmony, Match.com…this is the new norm. Instead of putting yourself out there and attempting to strike up a conversation with the cute stranger at the bar, you can now hide behind a computer screen and pick from a sizable pool of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes like a fantasy dating draft. The beginning of relationships, getting to know them through conversation and deciding if you are still interested after a few dates, has been replaced with a simple swipe right or left on a baseball card-like profile, listing basic facts about someone like statistics ranking their desirability.
How Dating Is Different Now
The very act of dating has now taken on many different levels – from ‘talking’ to ‘hanging out’ or just ‘fooling around’. When people are actually dating or in a relationship, we don’t consider it real until its “Facebook official.” Dates have changed from dinner and a movie to “Netflix and chill”. We revert to social media channels to find out the information we want to know about someone without actually having to have a conversation with them. We have opened up an avenue for the “jerks” we are always venting about to our girlfriends over a bottle of wine to position themselves as the desirable mate and create a gentleman-like façade to fool hopeless romantic women into believing that they are “the one.” Of course, there are perks of using the internet to date. You wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet over half of the people you see on gay dating sites if it wasn’t for that site. The internet gives us a much wider choice about the people we shack up with, and in today’s age, we’re allowed to be a little picky.
The self we present on social media is not a true reflection of who we are – it’s just the version we want people to see. We can take out the bad, pick and choose what we actually share and promote only the good. Sure, it may be scary to show our true, unedited self to someone and not know if they’ll like you for who you really are. But when you find the person who accepts you for you, the good and the bad – not a watered down, squeaky clean version of you – that is the person worth waiting for.
The Air of Mystery
Whatever happened to the air of mystery? Getting to know someone is what dating is for. I don’t want to know everything about someone before we even go on a first date. I want the air of mystery – it’s what drives my interest, sparks conversation. I want to talk about my day, vent when I’m frustrated, celebrate when something great happens, cry when I’m sad….all to a person/people, not to a computer. This is the beauty of speed dating: after meeting someone for the first time, and not constructing a false image of them in your mind based on internet interactions, you get to experience their authentic, genuine self in your initial encounter. Check out Cityswoon’s speed dating los angeles events.
I want to one day share the story of how I met my husband, and I want it be longer than “We both swiped right”.
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