Do Social Media and Online Dating Really Mix?

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We’ve all been there: A long-term relationship sadly comes to an end. “The Talk” is followed by the separating of things, drunken get-your-mind-off-it escapades with friends, and—gulp—the inevitable Facebook status switch-a-roo back to “single.” It’s in that moment that you wish you could look Zuck straight in the face and say how dare you! while dramatically hitting the delete button on your account.

But we never actually do. Our dater selves have become completely intertwined with our social selves; we post pictures of our significant others, tweet about the gifts they give us, and check into restaurants while on dates with them. Everyone in your network is exposed to who you’re dating, how serious it is, and even how you feel about that person—for better or worse. We’ve accepted that the two are now one.

Online dating sites are capitalizing on the trend at a rapid pace. OkCupid lets you tweet out a link to your profile from the site, allowing everyone who follows you on Twitter to see. Where we once lowered our voices and whispered to only our closest friends about joining Match.com, we’re now happy to blog, update and alert everyone that yes, I am on eHarmony—and Plenty of Fish, and Zoosk…

But what about the other way around? How eager are we to share our social selves with potential dates? Would you let someone you’re interested in read your Twitter feed? See your Foursquare check-ins? It’s the next logical step in blurring the lines. As social media and online dating begin to meld, one will not be without the other. Admit it: You’re Googling, Facebooking and Twitter-stalking potential dates anyways—why not have that information surfaced for you instantly while perusing an online dating profile?

For now, dating sites and social networks will remain superficially separated, and likely will remain so for some time. We like to be tricked into thinking they’re still distinct entities. But peripherally they’re creeping into each other’s digital space. Is your digital self ready?

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Christy Purington

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Comments

  1. says

    I've recently talked to a couple people who spotted online dating "frauds" when their facebook info (married in one case), didn't match their PoF profile (single, oops!). Social media is becoming so intertwined (heck, just my comment here leads to my Twitter account) that everyone should be prepared to be consistent across the board. It also raises the issue about how much info you want a perfect stranger to have about you. Most of us have tailored our online dating profiles for that, but our facebook pages might give away more info than we should.
    My recent post With Visions of Grandeur- Building the Online Fantasy

  2. says

    Or you could pretend the whole world actually isn't interested in every little petty detail of your private life and just STFU. Seriously, when did the concept of "the talk" go from being about whether or not to keep a toothbrush and a change of clothes at someone's place, to updating your face book status. It's almost as if going from "single" to "in a relationship" has become the social media equivalent of a toy chihuahua in a purse. The whole point of dating is to get to know somone. What the hell is the purpose of dating someone if you're just going to cyberstalk them? Next thing you know sex is going to "evolve" into some type of Demolition Man-like fiasco. As John Spartan said, "Kissing's not allowed? Damn… I was a good kisser."
    My recent post A pictures worth

  3. digisavvy says

    I am actually not a fan of Social Media and its ability to affect relationships. I waited a long ass time before friending my GF on Facebook. I wanted us to really get to know each other before seeing what troves of info our social profiles yielded. Don't get me wrong, I think there are certain social media tools that are amazing, but mostly, I think social media does more to hurt than to help.
    My recent post Apples and Oranges with Asana- Team Lab and Apollo HQ

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