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?