Courting in the Age of Social Media

My generation has become obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogging, etc. It is a fantastic thing to be able to maintain contact with our friends and catch up with old classmates, but perhaps we should consider what it is doing to our romantic relationships. There are an infinite number of angles from which to view this phenomenon but the one that intrigues me most is what it does to the get-to-know you process in the beginning of a relationship.

A person can learn more about a potential partner with a visit to his or her Facebook page than they would discover with a two weeks’ worth of dates. My blog offers a more intimate view of my inner workings than I ever reveal to people I’ve just begun dating.

Does social media hinder or help the dating process? In my view it is detrimental. The discovery period is the best part of a relationship. Social media takes the mystery out of the beginning stages and could also cause premature judgments to be passed. When a person uncovers things about another individual’s past via Facebook, Twitter, etc. it does not give that individual the opportunity to explain the myriad of circumstances that inevitably lead to the decisions they made.

One stalker prowl through my page would reveal information about my past relationships, my chosen career path, who my friends are, what I like to do in my free time and what I believe in. Why even bother talking to me for the first three weeks of what would be a relationship?

So we are once again presented with the ubiquitous dilemma: do we delete our profiles so as to protect our privacy thereby cutting us off from many of the connections we’ve nurtured through social media so as to protect the mystery within our relationships? I suppose one could always reject friendship requests from potential partners, but then this would most definitely be construed as a lack of interest. That, however, is an entirely different discussion. Ultimately there is no way around it, social media has changed the dating landscape and we are just going to have to find a way to cope.