Thursday, June 18, 2009

Video Killed the Romance: Why Facebook is an Epic Fail in Building Relationships

Relationship etiquette is an art form. It used to be if you met someone you were kind of/possibly interested in, the first thing you would do was grill a common friend for information. Is he single? Is he employed? Is he literate?

Now when you meet someone the first thing you do is add them as a friend on Facebook.

If they accept your request you now have access to the holy grail of personal information about this individual. Too much information. Not only do you know their current relationship status but you also know their taste in music, how photogenic they are, and what Grey’s Anatomy character they most resemble.

Way to kill the mystery.

You used to work for this information. You would go on three or four dates before you started discussing bands you have seen play live or what pizza toppings are non-negotiable. Grey’s Anatomy references wouldn’t come up until at least date #10. Isn’t that the point of dating? To get to know the other person?

We are taking the fun out of getting to know individuals for who they are by making the personal virtual. People can not be summed up in a neat little package of pictures, quotes, and interests. You might be surprised by how much you like a person that, according to their profile, you don’t have much in common with. The expression “opposites attract” didn’t come out of thin air. Someone somewhere understood that a genuine connection is more about how someone laughs, how someone speaks to you, how someone treats their waiter than whether they like the same movies as you.

Also, there is a fine line between stalking and research. Anyone who has had a “facebook stalker” knows exactly what I am talking about. You will know who that person is because the next time you see them they’ll make some completely random reference to a picture you posted 32 seconds ago. These people are probably just bored but it doesn’t remove the creep factor. Tell them to take up scrapbooking or something.

Honestly I am most concerned about the generation born after us, the generation that has grown up with computer technology as an unquestioned element of their day-to-day life. These individuals are more likely to send you a Facebook message than actually pick up the phone and call you. How are they going to survive a face-to-face interview, or a conversation with a grieving friend, let alone a date?

In the long run we end up doing more harm than good because most of us make a much better impression in person than in writing. For example, I might come off as scary in print but in reality I’m quite merciful.

It just takes way too much effort to be this sassy in person.

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