woman and man sitting on beach with sunset

Have we lost the way to woo?

As I was daydreaming the other day like I normally do, I began thinking of a Tinder story that a friend had experienced and I noticed that her and many other people were referring to Tinder as a ‘hookup’ dating app.

As I read more, I began to question if there was a correlation with dating becoming more digitalised and the meaning of dating. As Christmas is upon us, I guess you could think of this as the dating version of ‘the meaning of Christmas’ (hope you had a great Christmas by the way).

Now that we are able to do a simple swipe on an app to interact and date with others, do we still take dating as seriously as we would if we had arranged to meet up for a coffee? Would you turn up to a coffee date and expect someone to say “heyyy sexyyy, how you doin?’’ ha imagine that, what an awkward atmosphere.

Woman leaning against a bookcase looking at her phone linked to meaning of dating blog post

Yet for some, this is just the normal discourse structure of a conversation online. So has the meaning of dating lowered, now that it has become more digitalised? I know I mentioned Catfish in my first post but you could argue that to some extent, everyone is a catfish – we present our best selves online.

Think about that for a second.

Think of all the editing, cropping, posing you do to get that ‘perfect’ photo. And let’s not forget how many selfies we actually took before we found one we liked (and then getting the thumb ache after deleting all the ‘crap’ ones). Especially because the average millennial is expected to take 25,700 selfies in their lifetime.

two women sat next to each other, one taking a selfie

We may now all laugh about this because it is a common thing that most of us do, but it’s actually really bad, we all know that this type of editing isn’t reality, we can’t all be J’Lo (who seems to have perfect hair all the time right??) yet we present this fake persona to everyone else on the dating site.

If you want to read more about this, click here, where the article talks more about how we are too focussed on ourselves.

We have just conformed to this digitalisation of society – don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Karl Marx on you, but this digital impact on dating has not only affected how we date but also the bits before we date and how we present ourselves online.

For example, as this journal states, we all participate in enhancing our self-presentation in order to feel more confident that we will match/ find someone online.

However the research suggests that we also like to experience intimacy in a relationship and this can occur through self-disclosure whereby couples share personal information about themselves and then connect via that. But can you see the issue?

With online dating, we are so obsessed with presenting our best selves, that we can’t reach the intimate stage where we share personal information with each other because we have created a persona of ourselves which doesn’t always match to reality. Therefore, it is more difficult to grow an online relationship unless we are honest with each other and let our guard down.

But with the societal pressures today about our looks and wanting to remain ‘cool’, no wonder we are like this.

But what else can people do behind the screen? It’s almost like the screen is peoples’ protection, they can say and do whatever they like with little consequences (compared to if they were sitting in front of the person). For example, ‘dick pics’ and nudes are now common lexis that you can find in an online conversation where users even harass others until they send a picture – yet if this conversation was held face to face it could be argued that it’s easier to tell them to jog on.

woman sitting down, messaging on her phone

Women and men now feel pressured into sending personal images of themselves to others yet it is commonly known, that once a picture has been released on the internet, there’s no way of fully getting that back. In fact, according to this survey, 53% of millennial women have received a dick pic.

It seems like now that dating has become more digitalised those common politeness features seem to disappear and this new discourse has become ‘the norm’.

What’s more, the stigma around online dating seems to have lessened significantly.

In fact, in 2005, 44% of people agreed that online dating was a good way of meeting someone but in 2013, that percentage increased to 59% hence online dating is becoming more socially accepted.

Combined with this, many dating apps are now free to sign up to and interact with others, attracting new market segments such as students with the likes of Tinder and also meaning that users don’t have to make as much effort – if a conversation hasn’t gone well online, no worries, you haven’t spent money travelling to a restaurant and paying for you and your date.

In addition, some sites such as this one have actually discovered that apps like Tinder are used to pass the time when a user is bored, just like a game. So maybe dating is just a game now?

colourful fireworks display on pier

Join me on my next post to discover more.

Have a happy New Year!

References for this post:

Dorrance Hall, E., 2018. Why People Use Tinder [online]. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/conscious-communication/201802/why-people-use-tinder [Accessed 22nd December 2018].

Ellison, N, Heino, R, Gibbs, J., 2006. Managing Impressions Online:
Self-Presentation Processes in the Online
Dating Environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication [online], 415-441.

Infogram., no date. UK Online Dating Statistics [online]. Available from: https://infogram.com/uk-online-dating-statistics-1grv02gkwz1lm1x [Accessed 23rd December 2018].

Markarian, T., no date. How dating has changed over the last 100 years [online]. Available from: https://www.thelist.com/62575/dating-changed-last-100-years/ [Accessed 24th December 2018].

Mercado, M., 2017. How Many Women Have Received “Dick Pics”? According To Research, Over Half Of Millennial Women Have [online]. Available from: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-many-women-have-received-dick-pics-according-to-research-over-half-of-millennial-women-have-2893328 [Accessed 23rd December 2018].

Walden, C., 2016. We take 1 million selfies every day – but what are they doing to our brains? The Telegraph [online], 24th May 2016. Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/we-take-1-million-selfies-every-day—but-what-are-they-doing-to/ [Accessed 24th December 2018].

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