THE DIGITAL DATING EXPERIENCE


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Traditionally, dating is a form of human courtship consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of assessing each other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship. Usually this refers to spending time with your partner and engaging in some agreed upon social activity in public as a couple. More clearly, dating consists of two people who are discovering each other’s compatibility by going out in public with one another. Yet nowadays, technology plays a major role in the dating experience and puts face to face time to a new minimum. Looking back a few decades ago, the only technology that helped out the dating experience was the telephone and the car. The telephone helped the dating experience by being able to set up your date and meet up as the next step. The car also assisted by making it easy to meet up with your date, especially for couples who lived in different towns. But with new technology, the dating experience has changed drastically, causing both negative and positive effects. Now almost one out of every fifth person dates someone they have met online at some point in their lives(Online dating statistics). Digital dating can be beneficial to most people who have little time to socialize. {**Anecdote**: //Experiences with online dating//} And although it may have down sides, there are several ways to prevent “digital dating” abuse (anecdote: Uncle Ricks online dating experience).

Here's what Adam Sachs, co-founder of the group dating site ignighter.com had to say with regards to the phenomenon of dating henceforth the digital dating experience: "I can see how young people would look at the conventional online dating sites and think that going on one of those dates would make them feel like a loser or even desperate. I used to be like that once in my past life! There's nothing organic about creating your own blind date. Plus there's nothing fun about that either. What's natural and fun is getting c chance to meet new people in the company of your social circle. That's the purpose of why we created Ignighter.com. It's a group-to-group dating site, an opportunity for you and your friends to meet another group of friends in an environment that is safer, less awkward, and more likely to be fun” (Hassler 2).

However, Christine Hassler had this to say: An example of a positive view on online dating is that you are more accustomed to be more familiar with the person rather than if it is a face to face confrontation, although your perceptions could lead you astray from how the person truly is on the inside. On the contrary, see online dating as like this, a tool or a resource. Do not think of this tool as an end of the line type of solution to your dilemmas. Best thing you can do is to browse through and take note of the dating websites because chances are that you are trying to make finding Mr. or Mrs. Right as your main top concern. Try not to put pictures outrageously beautiful of yourself because if you want to attract your soul mate, just be yourself whenever you are both on or offline.

These views seem convincing at first, but both people emphasize more towards on the positive end but forget to mention the downsides for online dating. I strongly believe that people should take more caution and be aware of the potential hazards of online dating. Examples include: posting personal and or contact information, telling lies to make yourself look great, sending rude remarks, as well as whether you know who you are really truly dealing with, the potential threat that the person could be a really bad person, allowing the search for a partner take away thoughts about top priorities like going to college, doing homework, ditching class, sleep deprivation, and or deciding whether you can trust this person whom you have never met or seen face to face. Sure, it looks all fun and games as well as harmless, but what are the chances that you will meet the perfect match for you? Odds are seemingly pretty slim on this one. Suppose the person you would want to have a relationship with encounters you and you just find out that they look like nothing as they described on their profile, wouldn’t just that tear you apart as well as don’t get your hopes up because chances are that it would come crashing down on you?
Piece of advice on this is, never trust anyone because how sure can you be able to trust them? Would you lay down your life for that cause? But, beware of who you would want as your significant other.

In this time, there are now many new ways to date or meet people without having to already know them or meet them face to face. Because of this technology, the dating game has some new positive and negative effects. “Digital dating” consists of texting, email, instant messaging, dating sites (like Eharmony.com), live chat, Skype and the most popular social network, Facebook. Facebook is most commonly used by young adults, which makes it easier to meet and get to know one another. Users may create a personal profile with photos, add other users as friends and exchange messages. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, college, or other characteristics. In the movie, “The Social Network” , Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook), built this website in college in order to find out girls’ relationship statuses and biographies. According to Cyberpsychology and Behavior, “Facebook is a rapidly expanding phenomenon that is changing the nature of social relationships” (Muise, 2009). Within our country, each month there are nearly forty million users on these sites. Even more astonishing, seventeen percent of married couples met online.

Rick Demarest talks about both the plus and minus consequences to online dating. The good news is this; you have many options of choosing the right person for you in terms of selecting the following: region, age, size, race, interests versus dislikes as well as many others. You are not wasting any money on this and there are no obligations. That is swell, don’t’ you think? He brings on the downside of online dating by saying this: You can a multiple list of dates available to you and your finger tips, but if the first two do not work out for you, most likely you would skip to the next one and to the next several times, but the fact of the matter is that if you do this, what are you missing out on then huh? What if you by chance miss your dream boy or girl friend for someone else and not even know this?

Before Facebook and several other dating sites, ones who went on dates typically met each other in person. Thereafter, the first dates were to figure out what the other person was interested in and see if you can be companionable. Online dating sites, as well as Facebook, have ruined personable time together because you can find out a lot about a person without even having to meet them. You can usually access what their hobbies are, where they went to school, where they’re employed, their style and who their friends are through pictures. Facebook pretty much takes the place of a first date in being able to eliminate people before setting up a date with them and accessing them without meeting in person. Although meeting someone online seems easy, there are definitely downsides to dating sites. If you don’t have a lot of social time, it may be a good idea to go on a website to meet new people. But Facebook in particular takes away from communal relationships, and can cause drama since it is now the most used site in order to stay in touch with people.

Even before Facebook and online sites were created, the number one tool that reinvented the dating game is the use of cell phones. There is a major difference between a telephone and a cell phone. Telephones made it easy for one to set up dates and talk over the phone by getting to know each other. Now, cell phones are used to contact anyone via text, personable call, email, internet access, and even video chat. This helps by giving two people the opportunity to communicate more often which is essential since communication is a key component in a relationship. There are down falls with cell phone communication because sometimes couples only rely on the texting aspect and never clearly know how the person is really expressing the text.

Skype is another form of technology that helps people who are dating. Skype plays a role in long term relationships by giving the couple face to face time to talk over the internet. Skype is now a key component to long distance relationships, because you are able to see, talk and listen to the person without being physically with them. Some may think that technology is genius for inventing new ways to interact with people and link up new relationships, but there are always risks in communicating with people who you cannot physically see. You have to protect yourself from the digital world because you never know who is really accessing your information. For example, there are several cases today that young adults in relationships, mainly females, will send nude photos of themselves via internet or text, which will eventually be forwarded to other people, thus ruining their relationship.

According to Stephanie Chenn, a new study was found that more youths are using their tech gadgets and social media to abuse each other in romantic relationships. One in 10 teens reported they received a threatening cell phone message from their romantic partner (CNN, 2010). Technology in general causes more drama in several ways. There are more opportunities to interact with one another. Too many young adults can agree they have dealt with or heard about jealousy and distrust in a relationship due to Facebook, or a text message from someone other than themselves. A study conducted by the Cyberpsychology and Behavior found in a large survey of college students using Facebook during a relationship, had increased jealousy towards their partner (Muise, 2009). Uncontrollably, we will never be able to eliminate Facebook, email or texting from our lives. In the current generation, we are so accustomed to these things that we feel useless without them. In addition, technology makes one feel okay because they can always stay “connected” to something or someone. Luckily, there are ways to prevent harassment and danger from the digital world. Firstly, always make your profiles private, and hesitate on adding someone that you do not know. Also, there is a new site out called www.thatsnotcool.com which supports unsafe relationships that were caused by text, email or social networks. Digital dating is acceptable now and will only become more advanced with time, but you must protect yourself from dangerous outcomes to this relationship approach. Vignette - Moreno,M

Dr. Dave Greenfield focuses most of his attention to what you need to be aware of as well as what you need to avoid in terms of online dating. Here is what he has to say: You can create your preferences on how you want your partner to be like, but chances are that you might be in for an illusion. For those that are on the online dating websites, they are not really making a commitment with the other person in terms of by phone contact or by face to face. More than fifty percent of the people on these dating sites are lying relying on matters such as physical appearance and character background. E-mailing the person is not a great form of communication because you are not getting any facial cues or context from the other side. Some have been successful with online dating and really gone off with it, but for the other people, well, they are not a happy camper.




Works Cited

"Current Online Dating and Dating Services Facts & Statistics - Dating Sites Reviews." Dating Sites Reviews - Help Us Find Which Online Dating Site or Matchmaking Service Is Best for You. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. http://www.datingsitesreviews.com/staticpages/index.php?page=online-dating-industry-facts-statistics.

Demarest, R. (2008, March 3). Rick Demarest: 21st Century Digital Dating. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.quarterlives.com/21st-century-digital-dating/.


Greenfield, D. D., & Behavior, T. C. (n.d.). Virtual-Addiction - Digital Dating. Virtual-Addiction. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.virtual-addiction.com/pages/a_digitaldating.htm.

Hassler, C. (2008, November 18). Christine Hassler: Digital Dating: Desperation or Necessity?. Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-hassler/digital-dating-desperatio_b_144490.html.


"Online Dating Facts and Stats (Media Center)." Online Dating Magazine - Dating Services, Tips, Advice, and News. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/mediacenter/onlinedatingfacts.html.

"Online Dating Statistics." Web Content. Web. 03 Mar. 2011. http://www.webcontent.com/articles/153/1/Online-Dating-Statistics/Page1.html.


It is apparent that there are many good and bad aspects of online dating that are mentioned, but it seems that some of the bigger psychological problems at bay are not addressed. Yes it is clear that social networking has its perks that make it easy to talk, chat, flirt, and eventually hook up and it makes this current generation prone to becoming lazier and lazier when it comes to communicating face to face. We can observe this common trend happening amongst, but not limited to our youth, at any environment with a cell phone or computer. Though statistics show that there is a common correlation with increased technology and decreased physical communication we must ask why this is happening.

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In an article by Mikyoung Kim of Michigan state University, the topic is discussed that increased online dating is due to 3 major aspects (Kim, 2009). Self- esteem, romantic relationship involvement, and social-ability. It is discussed to challenge the stereo-type that lonely people are prone to using technology due to their own insecurity. The more convenient technology becomes the more people who are less social-able with low self esteem will find it easy to communicate through an internet source or via text message, etc. It is easier to face rejection electronically than it is in person and in text messages and online chatting you can take time to say what you need to say and gather your thoughts. Those who are naturally social don't rely on online dating as the rest.

It is also easy to be something that you are not online. Insecurity can lead to online chatting and lying about personality traits, interests, or even communication skills altogether. In an article by Valerie Jameson of New Science, she discusses lies that both men and women make not only about their personality, but looks, income, and other interests as well. When making an account on a dating website it is easy to put that you do not smoke, although you may constantly do it in person. If you are poor you can make a profile saying that you are a big business CEO. Even putting pictures of someone else or an altered image of yourself due to your own insecurities. She says in the article, "That's not to say a little exaggeration doesn't help. Both male and female daters are primarily seeking good looks. Websites such as lookbetteronline.com will put you in touch with a photographer who will snap you in a flattering pose and in forgiving light. As the old adage says, you only get one chance to make a first impression." ( Jameson, 2009).

On another note technology can help us end relationships as quickly as they first started. In an article by Megan Friedman of Time magazine she states, "Technology helps not just the enamored though. In a study, Jen Eden and Alice Veksler discovered that those attempting to thwart an unwanted love have new tools at their disposal. "We found that people use avoidance tactics to maintain a status quo" in a relationship, says Eden, a visiting assistant professor at Miami University in Ohio. "And computer-mediated technology is great for that because you can think about what you want to say." If a romance goes sour, your iPhone can take all the effort out of writing a Dear John letter. In the magazine survey, 43% of women and 27% of men said they had been dumped via text message."( Friedman 2011). It seems as if technology is making us less social-able and less capable of communicating face to face. We are constantly decreasing our ability to communicate especially with people of the opposite sex. It can be concluded to some extent that the more technological uses are practiced especially by youth's dating the more the ability to socialize, flirt, and hook-up in person will decrease. Although it may seem like online dating is hurting face to face contact it should not be dismissed as a whole, but looked at from a more convenient way to initially meet people then meet and hook-up in person later.

References



Jamieson, V. (2009). The dating game. New Scientist, 201(2695), 40. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Mikyoung, K., Kyoung-Nan, K., & Mira, L. (2009). Psychological Characteristics of Internet Dating Service Users: The Effect of Self-Esteem, Involvement, and Sociability on the Use of Internet Dating Services.CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(4), 445-449. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0296
Friedman, M. (2011). How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Tweet The Ways. Time, 177(12), 62-65. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
By: Matthew Moreno :)

Technology has implemented itself in almost every aspect of our daily lives, and the new big thing we have currently is the rave of online dating. Computers are day in day out coming out with new dating websites, and people are buying into the whole idea of it being a last resort and only option left. Of course it is so much easier to sit on a computer and explain detailed information about yourself and come up with matches/results, but where was this decades ago when there was no such thing as the internet. Before computers this means that men and women actually had to go out in public and communicate back and forth to find their life partners. Nonetheless, I don’t consider the online dating strategy to be an effective or good idea in the first place because there are too many problems and negative effects that can come from it more so than positive ones.
Today the online dating industry is worth $1.049 Billion dollars according to Zimvi.com so to start this means that for modern times there is even an expense to the freedom of meeting new people and dating. Before computers in history people were not so dependant and addictive which is another downfall to digital dating, but now we see that with the income that these sites are making people are forking out money for this right which is a con. History shows that it is frequently reported that the divorce rate in America is 50%. This data is not accurately correct, however, it is reasonably close to being actual. The ADR (Americans for Divorce Reform) estimates that "Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.", which is actually a projection. Another statistic shows that the length of courtship in marriages for people met online is around 18.5 months according to Zimvi.com. the divorce rate in history has substantially climbed throughout the years, and I believe that there is a direct correlation with people meeting through the internet and the divorce rate although it cannot be proven besides numbered statistics. Times before the online dating scene took place men and women were forced to talk face to face and develop relationships, not hide behind a computer and connect. Which leads to another con of most people do not know who exactly they are talking to and need to be very cautious and observant to what they can be getting themselves into. Zimvi.com reports statistics of 1 out of 10 users on the dating sites to be scammers, which is another risk of the online dating scene. The top three things men lie about on these dating sites are: age, height, and income while on the other hand the top three women lie about are: weight, physical build, and age which again brings the cons of dating that people may not really know who they think they are talking too. With the divorce rate being lower as you go back through time is what begs the question are these online dating websites helping or not? No, if anything history and numerical statistics have proven that there is a cause for concern and should not be what people are getting involved with, but that is just the opinion of one.

By: John Kuchler

Work Cited:
http://www.divorcerate.org/
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/online-dating-statistics.html
www.zimvi.com