How Technology Has Changed How We Date
Technology and social media have completely altered the way we connect and communicate with others and dating is definitely no exception. The saturation of smartphones means that we are constantly contactable and social media gives people a glimpse into our lives and allows them to get to know us – to a certain degree – before we’ve even met. With regards to dating apps, we are suddenly inundated with a degree of choice and abundance we never thought possible, but how do we wade through all the suitable possibilities and find something worthwhile?
The New vs. the Old Dating Game
Consider how your parents met. Mine met at a dinner party hosted by friends. When was the last time you heard of someone going on a blind date? Since the advent of social media, it’s difficult to fathom why anyone would ever want or need to go on a blind date ever again. Not only is a wealth of information easily available at few keystrokes and clicks, but how and where we meet potential partners has changed radically in the last few years.
An Abundance of Choice
The rise of dating apps has seen a significant shift in how we interact and it has in fact changed what we are looking for. Let’s use Tinder as an example: Tinder allows you to search for singles in your area who are interested in dating or any activity you can think of. We do almost everything online these days – shopping for groceries and clothing, entertainment such as television series, media, and online slots NZ, so why should dating be an exception? In a test group in which people were tasked with using Tinder to find someone they would like to date, the group stated that they felt far more optimistic about their love life after using the app.
The reason cited was likened to game mechanics: if you like someone and they don’t like you; it’s not a problem because you can just move onto the next one. There is no fear of failure as for a few rejections, you receive a few matches. However, this could lead one to feel as if potential partners are expendable and there is no need to limit one’s self as the possibilities are seemingly endless.
The Random Reward Effect on the Brain
Not only is there a lack of vulnerability on dating apps, but the nature of this modern ‘dating game’ has become similar to other games or social media. Every time we get a notification, ‘like’ or match, we feel a rush of excitement. Studies have shown that the randomness of the notification, referred to as the ‘Random Reward’, causes a spike in dopamine – the brain’s feel good drug. It can therefore be argued that not only are we receiving validation from the attention, but it’s possible that we could get addicted to this form of dating owing to the Random Rewards which spike our dopamine.
It would therefore appear that internet dating gives the whole impression of dating and love a dehumanising state. The game mechanics and convenience of online dating has somehow become more important than actually find a partner. As Carole Lieberman states in her book Bad Boys, dating has changed from a “romantic serendipitous meeting to a virtual shopping spree”. That being said, what are the future consequences of a relationship which begins in the virtual realm?