How Social Media Destroyed Dating In 4 Swipes
Each day billions of people worldwide access the internet; to broadcast opinions, to share moments, to connect with people and to feel connected to the world they live in. But when exactly did being connected become so important that we decided to lose the art of love and dating?
In 2012 a dating application ‘Tinder’ was released which allowed users to create a profile by signing up through their Facebook. Tinder profiles were restricted to providing the persons’s first name, the person’s age and sometimes a well crafted sentence about that person e.g. “I love long walks to the fridge and cats.” Tinder then obtains the users geographical location to provide potential partners or ‘matches’ within the same region. The app was similar to that of ‘Hot or Not’ where a user swipes left (to say no) or right (to say yes), if a user swipes right on a user that has also swiped right for them, they are connected to a chat as a ‘match’. It is estimated that “somewhere between 10 and 50 million people who swipe left or right through over 1 billion profiles a day.” (Matthew Beard 2015)
This is how social media in 4 swipes destroyed dating.
Goes Against Human Nature
For thousands of years we used to roam in packs and would only meet at most 150 people in our lifetime. Now we’re able to be friends with 1000’s of people and connect with 100’s of potential matches, we have exploited our capacities. Clinical psychologist Dr. Wendy Walsh explains that as human beings “We’re not programmed to be exposed to so much sexual opportunity,” Walsh said . “We’re also programmed to get really excited about a new [sexual] opportunity because it used to be rare. (Dr. Wendy Walsh 2015)
Psychology describes this phenomena as the ‘Paradox of choice’ in which we are constantly swiping and exposed to more and more options; this leads to indecisiveness and dissatisfaction, as we constantly are looking for someone better. This drastically affects the way we connect with potential partners and creates an inconsistency within relationships. Dating sites such as Grindr and Tinder are responsible for a generation of commitment-phobes who because of such forms of social media find it difficult to make decisions when it comes to partners and dating.
Hit it and Quit it
The rise of applications such as Tinder has provoked the ‘Hit it or Quit Culture’, where a user can swipe through a hundred profiles a day, evaluating partners like commodities on a trade market. This creates a superficial initial attraction, in which a user indicates they are interested in a potential partner merely off a few well selected photos and a carefully crafted description. It is through this degrading process that Tinder has destroyed the idea of dating. Due to such social media platforms, sex has become easier to come by.““Could the ready availability of sex provided by dating apps actually be making men respect women less? “Too easy,” “Too easy,” “Too easy,” I heard again and again from young men when asked if there was anything about dating apps they didn’t like.” (Austin Institute 2015).Tinder allows for shallow attraction that directs users to avoid looking for a deeper connection, by drowning it’s users in potential.
The ability to connect with hundreds of potentially suitable partners diminishes a sense of true connection and detrimentally affects the way in which people form relationships. “One of my mates wakes up and swipes right 100 times every morning, then repeats that in the evening; and occasionally he has a match, and after that a couple of hours of mechanical, loveless sex” (Scarlett Russell and Dean Kissick 2015)
“In these times of modern dating, we don’t want to define ourselves, and we most certainly don’t want to define our relationships. We want to have sex without dating, date without having sex, be married but have a girlfriend, be lovers and then become friends, be friends who become lovers. We want relationships to be easy, convenient, practical and disposable. We want our partner to be perfect without trying to make them perfect for us. We want love to come to us without making the effort that love requires.”(Meghna Pant 2016)
Falling in love with a person was once a vulnerable process in which a person would have to initiate a conversation and slowly but surely share ones feelings of love. Tinder has removed the sense of vulnerability and created a risk free alternative to love and dating. “On Tinder, anonymity and distance protect a user from being vulnerable to the other, and empowers them to control the conditions under which they will reveal themselves.” (Matthew Beard 2015). By removing vulnerability from the equation, dating not only becomes easy but it loses its authenticity. As now anyone within a 10 km radius of your address is a possible partner, lover, friend,hookup or one night stand. Anyone can now have game as it is easy to create a sense of confidence and gusto while typing away behind a phone screen.
Convenience – 24/7 Drive Thru Dating
Before social media platforms such as Tinder and Grindr love was restricted to the schoolyard, the bus stop or late at night sneaking out from your bedroom window. Although now Tinder and other apps alike have completely changed the game allowing for users to message and connect with other users at anytime of the day with little to no effort, as messages are easily sent through the click of a few buttons. This not only sets up the effort standard for a relationship but projects into the effort people put into dating. That being a minimal form of effort, which unless both parties are okay with causal relations this leads to dissatisfaction. These apps have created ideologies where “We want love to come to us without making the effort that love requires.” (Meghna Pant 2016).
As our lives become busier and our sense of being connected through forms of social media increases; dating and falling in love will be drastically affected. Do your part by logging off and going out to bars, libraries, cafes and all the places we used to bump into love.
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