These days more and more connections are starting from online communication. Whether that be because of Twitter, Facebook, or the comments section of a popular blog, the hook ups are happening almost at the same rate we saw back in the days of Blackplanet and AOL/Yahoo chat rooms. Keeping that in mind, the next logical question is, exactly how far can these connections go and is it really possible that a romantic relationship could be spawned from these connections? I say yes. In fact, I think that your chances of finding love or potential dating partners are just about the same if not better when dating online. The obvious criticism of online dating is that you don’t really know the person behind the computer; however, that’s really no different than meeting people is person.
Logically speaking, you may meet someone in a bar or even at a bookstore but you really have no clue who they are, and typically your next interaction will come a lot quicker than it would in an online relationship. How many times do you hear a story about a woman who is dating a man only to later find out that he has a wife or existing girlfriend? Now think about whether the chances of that happening are actually greater when dating someone you met online versus in-person. There’s really no real way to say either is safer or a surer bet.
I had a friend ask me if I’ve ever seen a romantic relationship develop between the readers of my blog, SingleBlackMale.org. I told her not only have I seen relationships develop, I’ve seen them prosper. I’ve seen everything from casual encounters all the way to marriage. Yes, there are people who meet in the comments section of a blog who go on to end up connecting with each other and then dating to the point of marriage. I also went on to say that dating people you meet online allows you to create buffers that aren’t always afforded in in-person connections. When you meet someone in a coffee shop and you’ve already seen one another, you’re likely to move towards seeing each other again as soon as possible. However, when you meet someone online you’re likely to email, Gchat or Skype a few times before you actually decide to have an in-person date. That’s a great advantage.
The other thing that these online connections benefit from is their ability to allow you to get to know each other by doing your research. Typically, when we go out and try to find information on a potential partner we ask mutual friends or we set up group meetings so that we can bounce our impression off that of our friends. When you meet someone on Twitter or Facebook, while I don’t recommend stalking, you have the ability to see the full body of work of a person. You can obtain a bird’s eye view into their sense of logic, humor, and values. This is all provided that a person doesn’t use their Twitter account to be someone that they’re not, and that’s something that most can determine just by noting the personality consistency over various mediums of communication.
Just to circle back to a previous point and expand for a moment, for anyone who might be interested in dating someone they’ve met online let’s be clear: You can’t use online platforms as a crutch for real contact and communication. The only thing that is going to change when you date online is the medium in which you meet the person. The opportunity to share a few emails and Gchat sessions gives you a chance to get to know one another before you’re having an awkward coffee date or sharing a meal together. It is not an excuse not to use traditional communication tools. There should still be phone contact, there should still be a genuine interest in meeting one another in-person, and while most of us love Gchat we have to find ways to transition to platforms like Skype or a video chatting platform. My reason being is that Skype is one-on-one attention as opposed to Gchat where you can hold multiple conversations at the same time. The point is that the online dating creates a buffer between the initial contact and the time which you meet in-person or actually decide that you like this person enough to take things to the next level.
I agree there are creepers everywhere. The internet used to be a safe haven for them to prowl. What I’m seeing lately is more of an interest from Twitter followers and Facebook friends to notice consistencies in a person’s online persona versus their real-life persona. When you meet online, you take away the potential that your relationship grows because of a physical or sexual attraction without getting to know each other mentally and emotionally. Those are the real predators and creepers. In my opinion, there’s no real difference between receiving a surprising DM in your Twitter inbox and walking through a lounge and being hit on by a random. The only difference is that, if you decide, one of those people can be ignored and the other is standing in front of you threatening to ruin your night.
Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated. Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.