Is Technology Killing Love?

It’s been reported that 20 million people per month engage with online dating sites like Facebook, Twitter, eHarmony, and countless others. Economic strife is only fueling the numbers of people who are looking for love in all the online places.

Even web-savvy socialites and celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Matthew Perry don’t seem to be impervious to online dating. In an age when technology continues to drive our dating tendencies, could it also be killing our chances for love?

Technology has become the vending machine of the dating future. Instead of selecting snacks, you can pick out potential love interests until your heart is content. Turn to Google for checking someone out before securing a date, lean on Facebook to answer your late-night date search cravings, and – once you’ve landed the date of the century – pop online and Tweet about it.

Like the good old vending machines of days gone by, if you don’t like what you see there’s another goodie lurking in the background just waiting to be picked. With little to no effort you can blast your experiences to your inner and outer circle of friends, work associates, and beyond. Is this really a good thing?

Vendible love
Social networking sites enable you not only to search your own network, but also your friends and their friends – and on and on until you find exactly what you’re looking for. But this endless bounty of options may have rendered you unable to decide on anyone because your machine (laptop, PDA, iPhone) is stuffed with one too many dateable treats. While sites and services are arguably the quickest route to a good time and a wealth of dating opportunities, it’s time to determine if it’s a trip worth taking when true love is your destination.

Tradition vs. technology
Before the information highway took over the dating freeway we were left with good old-fashioned in-person communication (and chemistry!) to determine if someone was worthy of our attention. A lot of that tradition has slipped by the wayside, and now friends have a podium to weigh in on who you should and shouldn’t date, leaving a smidgeon of space for your own personal views. Traditional dating grants some obvious perks, like nonverbal cues that let you assess how hot – or not – a date is. It’s also one of the only ways to determine if you’ve got chemistry, something that your keyboard will never know.

While your options for locating viable candidates in “real life” are greatly reduced from their online counterparts, conventional means grant you something the Internet can’t – a live person! People’s actual presences, unlike their photos, can’t fudge the visual truth. And look at it this way, by opting to forgo a love search on the web, you’re freeing up a ton of time to connect with someone on a more personal level.

Data-ble bases
No one can argue that the Internet offers one of the broadest and most extensive methods for your dating search. It’s been estimated that on a per-year basis over 100,000 couples tie the knot in relationships that began online. With a click of the keyboard and a tap of the mouse, the options are limitless. A quick stop at Google can unveil a tome of information that you might be delighted or frightened to know about someone. Social networking sites go a long way in cutting down the screening process for the datable population. If someone is a friend of a Facebook friend, we sometimes feel safer. The ease of exiting an uncomfortable situation or relationship is also a snap online. Relationships can even stop before they ever get a chance to start if someone posted a goofy comment on someone’s wall, or if the company they keep in their online profile or photo gallery leaves you less than amused. And let’s admit it: technology can be a hoot! Who hasn’t had fun playing cat and mouse with someone at lunchtime, or as you kill time at Starbucks?

Un-private relationships
However, the web-based way of dating might not be for everyone. For the good and bad of it, your life goes on display, and – sort of like the Energizer Bunny, people’s virtual lives keep going, and going and going – long after the relationship may have stopped. Does Jack really want to know what Jill has been up to after she left him for Ken? In deciding to date online it’s safe to assume that your private life may not stay private for very long. And while it’s great to be “friended” by the guy you’ve been eyeing at the gym, it doesn’t feel nearly as nice when he “unfriends” you after you lap him on the indoor track. If you’ve ever been privy to a post-break up online rant (hello Mr. and Ms. Barker!) the public nature of the web only heightens the intensity and scrutiny of things.

The Internet, like any good tool, is only as good as its operator. So think before you click, and use it wisely as you pour through your dateable/un-dateable database of potential love interests. But once you’ve narrowed things down to manageable levels, stop clicking your keyboard and phone pad long enough to make a date: get to know your would-be squeeze, live and in person, because human connection – in every sense of the word – is what dating is and should be all about.

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4 thoughts on “Is Technology Killing Love?

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