With technology becoming more and more relevant in every aspect of our lives, online dating sites are gaining more members every day. There are now more than 40 million users of online dating in the United States alone. Thanks to the integration of technology and the internet into our lives, the online dating business now possesses an annual revenue greater than one billion dollars (1). Some say dating is a numbers game, but many others feel that online dating provides ways of deception. Either way, online dating is providing a new way of communication and interaction online.
Since the initial stages of the relationship occur primarily behind keyboards, it is easier to portray yourself as someone you are not. This becomes especially useful to some in the dating world. Due to the fact that the person you are communicating with has most likely never met you in person, you have the opportunity to make a first impression without even making eye contact or speaking a syllable. Some of the most common lies are those centered on occupation and income, physical appearance, and age. While most of these deceptive actions may be slight exaggerations of the truth, the fact remains that the truest form of the person on the other side of your messages is not being seen. For instance, when someone might say one thing in the heat of a verbal conversation, they may respond differently when given time to think about what they believe would help infatuate the other more. It could be argued that the use of lies stemming from using online dating creates relationships that are built on falsities.
Unlike the mystery that lies within the use of online dating, social media connects people that usually know each other to a certain extent. Therefore, users tend to show themselves differently on social media sites compared to dating sites, but many still attempt to portray a bettered version of themselves. I previously mentioned how occupation and physical appearance are two of the most common lies. When dealing with friends on social media, those you know in realms other than just the internet, those fabrications do not apply. Instead, social media is often used to not only share thoughts and moments with others, but also to try to make the user’s life more eventful or more exciting than it already is.
No matter what way one looks at the situation of self-representation online, the connections are not the same as those that occur in person. Whether that is a positive or negative change is an opinion based matter, but it is undeniable that there is a difference. Online dating sees those involved attempt to show others an enhanced version of themselves. At the same time, social media users tend to show an enhanced version of their personal lives. As times change and internet communications evolve into a larger part of our lives, self-representation online is becoming a more prevalent fixture in society. More than ever, we control how others see us, at least in the virtual world of the internet.
(1) “Online Dating Statistics.”Statistic Brain. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics/>
Humans are naturally self conscious about everything, it’s a natural tendency to want to be accepted by others and what better way than to have the experience of love. The process of marriage has greatly altered since the age of courtship and arranged marriage. Dating has become more of a mental and physical game between people and sometimes we’re so busy, we’ve decided to implement dating into something we use everyday, the internet. There are many reasons that someone would turn to online dating, whether it be a search for their perfect half or because of insecurities or just simply because they’re socially awkward; either way online dating has changed the way we view relationships and ourselves.
Nicholas Sparks and Disney can be credited with the creation of the the ideal ‘prince.’ Romance movies differ far from classic love stories like Pride and Prejudice and Gone With the Wind. Instead of having a struggle into love, the main characters fall to ‘love at first sight’ or in the famous Sparks books, ‘it only took two weeks to fall in love.’ Lets be real, in two weeks you could probably walk away with knowing someone’s favorite food, lest fall in love with them. This idea of a perfect relationship has girls of all ages looking for that specific kind of love. Online dating gives people, not just girls, the perfect opportunity to showcase their personality and show their good qualities to make them seem ‘perfect’, which is riskier because we all know nobody’s perfect. The problem with online profiles are, because only good qualities are shown, choosing an interest becomes more about physical appearance and less common interests (2). Christian Rudder did a survey and girls that show cleavage and guys who show abs get more friend requests than the more conservative pictures (1). That in itself takes away a lot of the importance in a relationship because you’re going to have to interact with this person for the time that you date them so both personalities should probably be compatible and, as Tara Schwinger said, “it’s hard to date someone who is cute but is disgusting while you’re trying to have a decent conversation.” Typing messages to a person over your computer, the user has absolutely no way of knowing, for sure, who they’re talking to. This is the basis for a reality MTV show, Catfish, where hosts help internet couples meet and the truth isn’t what it seems.
In terms of physicality, females are more aware of their looks and guys are more conscious of their masculinity but all in all, we generally worry and take into account what people think of us, whether its because we want to feel loved or because we want attention. Younger generations, due to advanced entertainment, spend less and less time with their families and parents, lets be honest – in some cases, aren’t the best at their jobs. The lack of attention that kids get when growing up affects their later personality. Sometimes a lack of nurturing and attention as a child leads to a more needy or ‘closed-up’ personality in older ages (2). Children with divorced parents often deal with emotional struggles, some with depression, others just want to be loved because their parents were too busy fighting to recognize their existence. The internet gives the individual a chance to start over and change into someone who they wish to be or envisioned themselves as. If you could turn on a computer at any time and access a whole community of people who will willingly be your friend, who have similar interests and situations, and love you for you, who wouldn’t?
(2) Tara Schwinger