The E-volution of Dating, For Better or Worse: Dating and Technology

by Jessie Goodson, Campus Carrier Features Editor

Everyone has probably dreamed of receiving a letter from their significant other, maybe full of poetry, song lyrics or just kind words. But with the current rise in technology, you’re lucky if you get a smiley-faced emoticon. And sometimes those emoticons mean different things to different people. Messages are perceived differently for everyone and typed words are different from spoken ones.

In a study conducted by the New York Times, it was found that many people agree that the new definition of dating isn’t the most ideal. But what can be done to change this new dating model? Will it get better or worse?

A lot of the time, there is confusion as to whether two people are actually a couple. ‘Talking’ or ‘hanging-out’ doesn’t exactly scream commitment, so make sure you’re both on the same page. 

“You have all of these in-betweens, rather than just dating or not dating,” freshman Matt Martin said.

Fifty years ago, you may say dating was much simpler. A couple would go out for ice cream or a casual meal. After dinner, they’d leave and say their goodbyes. Then they might call each other a week later and plan a second date. Eventually, they may even begin a courtship. 

Now you’re probably thinking, what’s a courtship? Good question. According to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, courting began in the 17th century and meant that two people would begin dating, with the intent to eventually marry. Courting isn’t really prominent in the 21st century, unless you’re a Duggar with a reality show on TLC, but that doesn’t mean two people can’t have a nice date with the same idea. 

“Raised in the age of so-called ‘hook-up culture,’ millennials – who are reaching an age where they are starting to think about settling down – are subverting the rules of courtship,” the New York Times reported. 

The fight for gender equality and dominance is also a factor in this new definition of dating. The New York Times suggests that income equality and gender superiority play a major role in this. 

We encounter technology every day, so why not use it to meet people? There is no doubt that dating is heavily influenced by the internet, especially on social media. It all began in the late 1990s with dating websites. That eventually turned into dating apps like eHarmony, and Tinder that are widely popular today. In 2016, Tinder said that 50 percent of its users were in the college age group.

As millennials, dating apps and sites are a part of our everyday life and have increased in popularity. The Pew Research Center found that one in five young adults are using online dating sites, tripling the number from 2013, a time when dating sites weren’t as popular. 

Dating sites and apps mean that your online profile is sometimes the only thing people see when they decide whether to contact you or not, which means that your physical appearance determines who you hear from. 

“It’s less about who the person is and more about how attractive they are,” freshman Courtney Clark said.

Social media and online profiles can be a good thing. They help a couple skip the awkward first date. There’s no need to talk about yourselves because your Facebook profile told them everything they needed to know before they even thought about dating you. On the other hand, online profiles aren’t always 100 percent accurate and direct messaging is different from a phone call or speaking in person. 

“It’s harder to interact with someone in person when it’s easier to do over the internet,” freshman Rachel Hartdegen said. 

Dating apps make meeting people more convenient, but sometimes turn into a repetitive pattern. Someone swipes right and asks the person out, they might meet at a bar or a coffee shop, speak a few words, share a few pictures then proceed to either end the night, or ‘hang out.’ Then they do it all over again with someone else.

 “You don’t have to just rely on your friend group, with all of the online dating sites you can find someone for anybody,” sophomore Tyler Hooper said. 

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