The internet is a fickle thing. It is a source of ever growing knowledge and resources. This can be used to bring people together and bring awareness to issues, but when it comes to certain aspects of the internet, it leaves much to be desired While its intended purpose is connection, the argument can be made, it is driving people apart.
One example of this dilemma that comes to mind is online dating. There are so many apps that have great potential, and for those of us who are single AF it is kind of a saving grace. Yet, the anonymity of online dating allows for the least committal behaviour. First, you are initially basing a potential connection solely off of looks, which is rather dehumanizing. From there, you might consider clicking to view their profile further. Finally, if everything aligns, you take a chance, swipe right or click a heart or whatever button, and wait. Meanwhile, you keep on swiping. Yet, you are never in a situation where you have to commit. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you never even have to respond to a person. You can disappear on people at the drop of the dime, and the only motivation for the endless hours of swiping is on the off chance that when the stars align and the moon is full you come across someone that meets your criteria. Once this potentially happens, you have the next challenge of keeping that person interested long enough to meet up. So, maybe you make it that far, you’ve agreed on a time and place. Hours before, you get a message saying they have suddenly been called into work, or their car broke down, or they spontaneously moved. But once in awhile, one of these meetups, or dare I say, ‘date’ works out. You meet, have a nice interaction, the conversation is fine, but there’s a ‘but.’ Ultimately, you’re right back where you started.
With this process, it is hard to come out ahead. You can sit there, swiping for hours wishing, hoping, and praying that someone is going to come along and actually be looking for the same things you are. But typically, you are left high and dry. Obviously, if your intended purpose for these apps is to pursue a less committal ‘relationship,’ then you might have better luck. However, if you are on these apps, or online in general, to form true connections with people, you may find yourself disappointed.
All of this is not to say these apps never work. They do. People can certainly find connections, friendships, relationships, and even soulmates. Yet, it makes you question are these apps, and social media in general, causing us to lose the skill of interpersonal communication and the feeling of empathy?
Think about it. When people do not have to form a connection, they do not have to feel. They have no obligation to emotion in these situations. These platforms create something of a guard and prevent vulnerability from being exchanged. Honestly, to someone like myself who is not keen on getting in touch with their emotions, this sounds pretty great. The truth, however, is that it prevents human connection, in whatever capacity, from progressing.
Ultimately, these apps will remain, as will the internet, but we have the ability to change our approach to it. Hit the heart if you agree.