Once upon a time, when singles wanted to connect with prospective partners, they had a limited number of options at their disposal. They could head into town, pop into various bars or nightclubs, and try their luck at chatting up likely candidates. They could join social clubs where they would at least have the prospect of connecting with someone who was already on the same wavelength, or they might rely on a mutual friend arranging a blind date.
But that all changed when someone had the bright idea of tapping into the power of the Internet, making free online dating chats available to singles seeking love. So how has new technology revolutionized the way people are dating in this day and age?
One of the most fundamental ways in which technology has altered the face of dating is in the sheer scope matching sites offer punters. Traditionally, we were choosing our dates from a relatively small pool of individuals. Whether we went to our local singles bar or headed in town to dance the night away in clubs, we frequently came across the same people, week after week. The advent of dating websites has revolutionized how we approach dating. No longer tied to individuals you happen to share your local geography with, when you go online you could find yourself getting to know someone anywhere from New York to Hong Kong. These sites transcend international barriers, offering people the opportunity to become familiar with individuals from near and far.
Because dating websites like this fit so readily into our otherwise tech-orientated lifestyles, with people working from computers in offices or at home, there can be issues with focus and concentration. Because so many dating sites are also available as apps on smartphones, they are now catering to users whose attention span is nowhere near as patient as daters from previous generations. Some sites are even geared to encourage participants to swipe past people who don’t interest them in seconds.
All this encourages a thirst for speed and efficiency. Where daters would previously have taken some time getting to know people, there is much more emphasis on instant attraction. Paradoxically, dating platforms also offer the opportunity to get to know other individuals at your own pace. You are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to browsing through personals, taking into account the different hobbies or interests enjoyed by prospective partners.
Communications pros and cons
Another knock-on effect of this sense of immediate communication is the fact there can be a feeling of frustration whenever someone you are connecting with doesn’t reply to your texts straightaway. When you use your phone to message a friend, you generally expect to receive a message promptly. Where potential dates are concerned, if someone takes time to respond this can lead to frustration – even if there might have been good reason for the delay. So while dating resources can certainly put you in touch with kindred spirits in a convenient way, the opposite side of that coin is this sense of instant gratification can also bring out an unhealthy impatience. Once most daters become familiar with how it all works, they do manage to temper their excitement!
Traditional dating once involved real-time connections, as people met in locations like bars and spent the night getting to know each other by friendly conversation. Nowadays this type of courtship can move so much quicker. We can send instant messages and video on Facebook or Twitter, as well as Instagram or WhatsApp. Web chats can bring us into contact with three-dimensional versions of the people who have caught our eye.