Internet Intimacy

Online dating, an idea that seems so foreign to many, but is so commonly utilized in today’s world. As a rise of technology has occurred we have begun to see a change in social situations. During the course of the semester we have gotten the opportunity to look deeply into the Internet and its up rising and identify various changes it has made to our society. We have looked at the ways it has changed communities and further more been recognized as a community within its self. Additionally we have seen how with the shift of the idea of “space” relationships between people have also transformed. With online platforms and differing mediums becoming a more prevalent part of our lives it only makes sense that we carry our personal relationships along with us.

As we discussed in class the idea of online dating has a sort of stigma around it like much of the Internet. It is natural for individuals to question the unknown, which has become a daunting aspect of Internet living. But if you really think about it, what is so strange about this phenomenon? The Internet has blurred the line between relationships and space. Through various platforms we have been able to leave our geographical barriers and seek out new exciting relationships with those we share connections with. This has given many people the means to meet individuals they may not have previously. Online forums and chat rooms have given people the ability to meet and chat about common interests, which doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But when it comes to meeting a partner online many people have formed certain stigmas. Match.com was a driving force behind the online dating scene. It allowed for people to break out of their comfort zones and meet people just like them. I must admit that when dating websites first came out I had my doubts and thought they were somewhat strange and only for older people. The phenomenon continued to grow with the technological advancements of the Internet and smart phones. Dating apps began to come out and were all the rage amongst millenials. I believe dating apps such as tinder and bumble fulfill the ongoing need for growing connections as well as instant gratification. With multiple apps being created it has given people to connect anywhere they are.

Monogamy has come into question a great deal with the rise of the Internet and the continuous popularity of dating apps. We have seen an increase of divorce over the years and many blame technology for this influx. Because there are so many platforms to meet people and it is no longer just your local bar, school or town, now it is easy to connect with people in various areas. The freedom of choice has caused us to be continually searching for the best possible answer. This is referred to as the paradox of choice; Barry Schwarts explains that, “choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied”. Many people question the idea of monogamy due to the paradox of choice. Additionally since the rise in technology has changed our way of looking at relationships, it seems as though people’s standards for a partner are at an all time high. In Aziz Ansaris book Modern Romance he explains the idea of companionate marriage, which looks at marriage at an institutional level and instead of marrying your soul mate you marry for security. Today marrying someone for merely the idea of securing your future seems borderline crazy. Instead we are in constant search for an ever-lasting spark in someone that we cannot live without. This returns back to the idea that post-modern society has turned against institutions and is now more and more concerned about individuality and happiness.

It remains true that social media and varying technological advancements have changed the way in which we communicate. Now more then ever we are able to connect and form ties with people that we could have never reached previously. Online dating while strange to many has become more and more popular to people of every age group and has successfully brought many couples together. While to many it seems like a foreign concept in reality we all know someone who has found happiness through it. I believe it is important for people to not place a stigma around online relationships and realize that the Internet is a part of our everyday reality and in many ways is no less real then face-to-face contact.

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