I recently attended my best friend's graduation from college and 3 separate respectable, educated and distinguished individuals [including a dean, a board of trustee member and the keynote speaker (the attorney general)] addressed the audience and made references that the graduates are emerging into a vastly changing world: one driven by Facebook and Twitter. It made me observe and come to the conclusion: OMG, they're absolutely right.
We're living in an age where social networking is ever consuming. I can know more about my friends, family members, celebrities and complete strangers than I could ever think imaginable or sometimes ever want to know. I can instantaneously text, IM, or Tweet with both hands, while driving [only for the highly trained]. The positives of this new-wave far outweigh any possible negatives but it does raise concern for me personally as someone who is hopelessly looking for love; chivalry is seriously wavering on extinction.
When I was in high school, I remember the butterflies and the anxiety of approaching members of the opposite sex and anticipating they would reciprocate the feelings I felt. I was an overly sexualized individual so I lived life permanently buckled into the roller coaster of infatuation. I remember my sophomore year, I fell for a boy named Joey. He casually slipped me handwritten note between 3rd and 4th period one day. I carefully crafted a witty, cute response that gave him the vague indication that I was interested in him too. Eventually he gave me his pager number and I exchanged my cell phone. He courted me for a couple weeks and finally we started going on dates to the movies or the local Steak and Shake. It was a slow, often nerve racking and filled with mind games but our courtship was sweet, thoughtful and genuine.
Nowadays, there is little or no effort in the communication department of the getting-to-know-you phase. Take for instance, my latest prospect. I'll call him Mr. Facebook. I've been a member of Facebook for several years now and have acquired what I consider quite a lot of "friends." They are a multitude of fellow classmates, ex-boyfriends, family members, coworkers, acquaitances and a select few randoms who met my criteria for acceptance. Several months ago I accepted a friend request from a guy I've never met personally but we coincidentally went to the same high school and share approximately 40 mutual friends. About a month ago or so he sent me a random IM on Facebook. He had seen me out at the bars and thought I was good looking. This sparked casual, friendly back-and-forth banter. This eventually transformed into innocent flirting which led to an exchange of phone numbers and has settled upon daily texts and IMs. I have gotten to know him pretty well and have divulged personal information of my own. We have made arrangements to hang out very soon and though I am thrilled that we have taken a rare opportunity to get to know each other mentally before anything else, I am still taken back by the fact that I don't even know what his voice sounds like. This is someone who occasionally addresses me as "babe", "baby", and "sexy". It also makes me wonder if Mr. Facebook is all talk and engages in this nonchalant flirting with multiple other women; another facade men can hide behind. But I observe human behavior, read all the dating advice literature and can read between the lines and conclusion is that so far, the interest is sincere; we will see. I feel like I know him very well but we are still lacking the physical spark needed to sustain a relationship. Mr. Facebook is attractive in the pictures online but what if I am repelled by something physical when we finally meet face-to-face? I'm still riding on the Anxiety Express.
We live in an exciting world of change but if Mr. Facebook eventually transforms into Mr. Happily-Ever-After and proposes to me via Twitter, Facebook or Sprint, [J, Will you Marry Me?....5 seconds ago], I'm moving to a remote, tropical island...without HIM and Wi-Fi!