Look around at all the couples around you, and think of how many of these have met each other via online platforms? The number is definitely increasing each year. With more of our lives being led in the online spaces, it is no wonder that romance is also finding new ways of manifestation.
Apart from Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms, dating apps are slowly gaining momentum. Apps like Tinder, Aisle, Match.com, are slowly bringing online dating to the public spheres. Scouting for a potential mate through dating apps and social media is as innovative an idea, as it is dangerous. We came across this article recently which listed out ways to stay safe, when engaging in online dating. Some important tips delineated by this article are:
1. Inform a friend or family member about your date with an online acquantaince.
2. Have minimal levels of, or no alcohol on your first date.
3. Reveal less personal data initially
4. Find out as much as you can about your date, before meeting them.
5. Have a phone conversation before a face-to-face meeting
6. Meet at crowded places
7. Don’t take a lift home.
The opinion for online dating varies with age and other demographics. An article in ‘The Atlantic’ quotes Edward Royzman who is a Psychology Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Royzman is of the opinion that men are more inclined towards physical attractiveness and women on social attractiveness. The aforementioned are determinants of the ‘swipe’ logic in the online dating world.
After having cleared the preliminary round of desirability assessment, the dating apps provide a temporary space for people to chat and make up their mind about sharing personal contact details. This is not uniform across the dating apps. ‘Aisle’ is one such exception. The man or the woman need to buy an ‘Invite’ and send it to the people they are interested in. If the invite is accepted, by default, the personal contact details are revealed. Since each invite has to be paid for, Aisle makes the first round of choosing, very thorough. Every profile has details of most crucial determinants of desirability. It ranges from food preferences, choice in music, food, reading habits, socializing preferences, profession and pay package. This helps the man and the woman get an overview of what can be expected of the person BEFORE they send the invite. This goes beyond the scope of Royzman’s theory of online dating. However, it is noteworthy that the underlying psyche of men and women might be superficial perceptions of attractiveness.
This indicates stunted growth in our expectations from the self and others. This may be the reason why our society has become image driven and consumerist. Perhaps this is why the contemporary literature borders on existentialism and nihilism (that depicts the end of consumerist road and beginning of purposelessness), rather than proactive and voluntary efforts at holistic self-growth and nurturing the self as an independent entity.
At Centre for Social Research, we are strong practitioners of staying safe online, owing to our initiatives #SocialSurfing and Tweesurfing with Facebook and Twitter respectively. Mr Amitabh Kumar, Head of Media and Communications at Centre for Social Research, had this to say “As love finds its ways in digital spaces, so do frauds, criminals and fakers. Cyber space is a reflection of our society hence similar cautions apply while seeking a partner on the Internet.” Thus, like with all social media platforms, it is important that dating apps should also be dealt with cautiously.