From AOL to OKCupid
Since the early days of the Internet, we’ve used tech as a tool to broaden our prospects for meeting others and finding romance. We’ve come a long way since those AOL chat rooms, and even traditional dating sites are giving way to smartphone apps that can do the matchmaking for us. Using your phone’s GPS feature, mobile social apps such as Blendr, Grindr, Are You Interested? and Plenty of Fish help you zero in on potential dates, or hook-ups, right around the corner.
The power of Facebook
Some young single people today would rather have information than mystery. When Jason Austin, a 29-year-old IT professional, was skeptical of a potential date he’d met online, he did what anyone who’s seen an episode of “Catfish” (or just has plain common sense) would do: He turned to Facebook.
“I wanted to know something about her, I can’t say that I’m not nosy,” said Austin, who lives in Pontiac, Michigan. “I didn’t feel comfortable with the information she was telling me. I would text her, possibly when I get off work, I would give her a call and she wouldn’t answer, [but] she would text me in the morning and say ‘Hey, how was your day yesterday?’ It made me kind of suspicious. So in that particular situation, I Googled her.”
On her Facebook page, Austin could see “friends of friends,” which allows one to see so much more information, he said. “If you read the comments, you can find out details about that picture, which tells you details about that person.”
Romance, on Skype
Although meeting in person will always be essential, the concept of romance has evolved to the point where weeks of instant messaging or e-mailing can plant seeds of a relationship.
That’s been the case for 20-year-old Cristina Lara, a Cornell University student who relies on Skype and e-mail to nurture her long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Joshua Mbanusi, while he’s working in North Carolina. From the beginning, their courtship was carried out through digital means.
Lara’s boyfriend, a Cornell alum, asked for her e-mail address instead of her number at first. While some might have taken that as a hint of disinterest, Lara recognized that the frequent, friendly e-mails were his way of showing he liked her. Eventually, he asked for her number, and they went on their first date about a month later.