As the first generation to grow up in the digital age we’re the first to experience its consequences. And sure the landscape of human life is vastly different to the one experienced just 50 years ago, but this has changed more than how we access our mail, it’s changed how we connect with the world and with each other.
In a digitised age we can kiss organic meetings and sunset dates goodbye. Dating revolves around tinder, hook-up culture and mind-games. And if it’s none of these, it’s them sliding into your DMs. We ask our parents how they met and they have movie-worthy romances, they crossed lands and oceans to be together, to love each other. And now it’s a balance between ghosting, snapchat and Instagram stories.
The change seems to be rooted in social media. The shift to creating an online persona changes how much people know about you before meeting you. You go to uni, add someone on Instagram, and before sharing 100 words they already know what school you went to, who your friends are and what your hobbies consist of. We can sieve through people faster and faster; decide we aren’t interested before they get to tell us their full names. And it doesn’t help that Instagram is based on how you look. We’ve reduced our values to our appearance, and it shows. Your personality isn’t visible in your pictures and so your dating circle is cut shorter and shorter. (Perhaps LinkedIn is the place to look instead?)
Jokes aside, it’s a shame that authentic dating has vanished- somewhere between followers, for-you- pages and swipe-rights the magic of love has been lost. Not only that but our expectations have dropped. Our generation has gotten used to online-messaging and we’ve slowly become accustomed to energy-lacking emojis, exclamation marks and smiley faces to express emotions. We’ve changed our language; we’ve confused our words and we’re suffering the consequences. The truth is, messaging online has made real interactions awkward. We no longer know how to think on the spot or bounce off each other- we don’t have the time to read and think of a response and suddenly – we’re all afraid of it. Anxious we’ll be found to be frauds – not funny, not interesting, and not charismatic. We don’t think we have what it takes to prove ourselves because we got used to proving it online.
The digital epoch seems to be bringing about the extinction of love. We have to breathe it back to life and out of our phones. We have to resurrect date-nights, watching movies and chatting all day, going on walks that last miles and getting lost in smiles, eyes and laughs. Snapchat isn’t enough, facetime isn’t enough. Even if we hear each other’s voices or see each other’s faces we’ve still lost far more than we’ve gained. We need those in-person connections. Humanity is a social animal, we rely on these day-to-day moments that tether us to people. We get to feel their energy in real time and that’s the beauty of love. Love is found in the soul-to-soul moments, don’t replace the real with the digital.
Photo by cottonbro studio, obtained from Pexels