Was your date fitter on Twitter?
It used to be nice and simple. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, second date is dinner, third is breakfast and the rest is history. But something came along and shook that up. Now it’s more like, boy meets girl through friend on Facebook, spies on her page, brings up her favourite interests at dinner and breakfast moves to the first date. Or they met on Twitter so they already know the minutiae of each other’s lives and the conversation is so familiar, it’s almost awkward and a bit weird. And as for meeting people online? Well that was the reserve of ‘weirdo’s who couldn’t get a date in real life. How it’s changed.
Social networks have had a profound effect on human behaviour. You can know someone and their friends incredibly intimately, before you’ve even met them. There’s no such things as blind dates anymore, unless their Facebook settings are on private of course. Is this a good thing? I’s certainly taken the mystery out of it. If you know your dates name and where they live then you have access to a whole host of information to get to know them before you really know them. Think about it…
Want to see them at their worst?
Okay, so everyone’s capable of putting up their best picture as their avatar. Sometimes they can be deceptive, with the best of intentions. Thanks to tagging on Facebook, you can now see your potential boyfriend/girlfriend in a whole range of pictures so you can see them in their true colours. It may not be as pretty as their profile picture, but at least there’ll be no nasty surprises on the way. Same goes for Flickr.
Looking for witty dinnertime banter?
If you really want to do your research ahead of the first date, there’s a wealth of information at your fingertips. You can just stick your dates name into LinkedIn to look at their career history. Do a bit of research around their previous roles and companies and you have a whole host of banter to unleash at the dinner table, that’ll certainly get your date talking. Just practice your interested face if they tell you about a previous job that you already know all about, but don’t want to let on just how much you’ve been ‘researching’ them online.
Cut to the chase
You could spend time on those early first dates finding out about each other’s interests, but there really is no need when they’re all listed on Facebook anyway. Just look at their favourite books or films and drop these in to get the conversation going. If they’re not too savvy about their privacy settings on Facebook, then you’ll be lucky enough to do this even without having to be their friend on there first, so you still have the element of surprise for knowing them so well.
Don’t want to be stuck with a loner?
Not a problem, simply put their name into Facebook or Twitter and see how many friends they’ve accrued. How many group photos are there? This will easily enable you to see how popular they are and how much they like to socialise. Then you can decide if they’re really right for you without even having to meet them first. What a time saver.
If in doubt, Google ‘em
If at the end of all that research you still don’t know if they’re the one for you, put their name into Google. If there’s anything really bad worth knowing about, Google will have it covered so you can save on a few awkward conversations and excuses not to see them anymore.
The above situation is entirely possible thanks to social media and I’m sure that some, if not all, of the above are regularly carried out by potential couples, or at least one half of them. The issue of being open with your social network profiles and the implication for current or prospective employers is regularly discussed, but dating receives a lot less attention. It’s an everyday situation that we all find ourselves in and it’s yet another area of life that has been radically transformed by social media. To some extent, it’s changed it for good. Online dating is now a regular and acceptable activity and not something to be ashamed of. You could even argue, at a stretch, that in a time pressured society like ours, social media helps you to filter out the rubbish a lot more quickly than sitting through an entire dinner to find out you are in no way matched.
Like I said, it’s completley hypothetical, but entirely plausible nonetheless and I know people that have carried out one or more of these activities on at least one occasion. Where this is the case, something is being lost. Something in the physical subtleties of human contact, whether for dating or friendships. What if their entire bio on Facebook was written in jest, but you can’t pick this up in the tone? What if they have the Facebook app that lets you see who checks out your profile the most and a bit of harmless peeking looks like potential stalking to a date? An extreme example maybe, but it certainly highlights just how much we’re changing as a society and how online communication is affecting so much of everyday life.
Does anyone have their own stories of social media and dating?