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Social media and technology killed dating!


In the fast paced world of social networking and technology, courting as we know it has died. FEATURE WRITER ANGELA MDLALANI explores the clichéd world of likes, pokes, and simple clicks that come with the pervasive Facebook stalking and how the dynamics have killed the dating phenomenon.


The dating game has changed. From a time where there used to be a mystery behind getting to know the other person, the drill these days is as convenient as accepting a friend request to set ablaze an affair!


While some people appreciate the convenience technology has brought to the dating world because the gap between them and their crush has been significantly bridged, it is also worth noting that the process too has killed chivalry as would be suitors now manipulate the whole system.


With traditional courtship, asking someone to go out with you required courage, and a considerable investment of ego if not strategical planning, being rejection in person does hurt. But a quick Facebook message, whatsapp or text message removes the all that charm, and maybe if rejected by text it doesn’t hurt much? It should very much resemble casting the net and hoping for a catch, if you wait too long you are bound to forget you dropped the net, or better yet give up and move on!


Imagine the one person who lives in your neighborhood, you meet them every day on your way to work, then one day they send you a friend request on Facebook and inbox you a bunch of 3’s and semi colons and closed brackets, supposedly meaning to tell u how crazy they are over you, how they love you. Seriously, they are wooing you, with hashtags and emoticons!


Because there really is no planning about this new dating trend, the approach too is lazy and suitors tend to use a trial and error method. Many women are familiar with “Ke go cheke?” or “O ncheka leng” as the opening to the day’s wooing process. Ke go cheke loosely translated means “can I come over?” and the latter translates to “when are you coming over”?


Kebonye Tebogo, 28 relates that strangers have courted her through Facebook and her greatest fears were entertaining a serial killer or a mentally disturbed individual with ulterior motives.


“I would rather go old school as that way you know whom you are dealing with as opposed to being wooed online and standing  a great deal of risk to your life because you never know who for real you are chatting with. Remember identities are easy to manipulate and people never really use their own photos whilst at it,” she allayed.


According to Tebogo, online wooing never intends to flatter, “You get people who just shoot out that they don’t have a girlfriend or tell you a soppy story of how their last r/ship “ended all the while coming out as too good to believe.”


A lot of activists and pro technology users have argued that conservatism has no place in today’s world because as much as people want relationships, they have demanding schedules and courting, dating and waiting for that first kiss is not an option for many. And with the convenience of smart phones and access to social media, one can easily stalk, judge and scope out their potential fling online!


In the typical world, dating follows the predictable pattern whereby the man is the active party, he is the one who shows interest first and asks the woman to go out with him, he organizes everything whereas the woman on the other hand reacts by either accepting or rejecting the man’s overtures. Going out on a date could be something as mundane taking  walks at dusk together and trying to get to know each other,  and there is that prospect of a future relationship.


Of course the times moved and there was the paid dinners and expensive gifts and general splashing of money, but that is a topic for another day!


My point is whether we like it or not, the digital age has written a new set of play rules for modern romance.  It is now common to meet someone and get the question “do you have whatsapp?”, or “Are you on Facebook?” Wooing as we know it has changed, and no one takes their time to know the other anymore.


Web searches are pretty much to blame, if Google can give you someone’s background information by linking you to their social media profile, or any other online profile, there really is no need for that date that would most probably lead to uncomfortable questioned being answered in person.


I really do not care much about culture or change or the century we are in, emotions are just that, and faux trend can replace that. Why is the world developing apps “to find your perfect match”? Admittedly, some of the apps like Facebook and whatsapp play very significant roles in long distance relationships, but even so there is still something uneasy about letting “apps” and gadgets meddle in one’s love life.


Technology has really found a way to strip out the remaining traces of human interaction.


However, in a world where relationship validity is determined by a relationship status on Facebook, this may all be acceptable.


An entrepreneur who spoke on the condition of anonymity argued that while technology played a role in the changes in dating, it was not all to blame.


“Of course it is easier to use whatsapp or BBM to try start a fling with someone, but the fact of the matter is times have changed, women have asked for equality and I guess a quick text asking someone to hang constitutes as equality,” he argued.


According to the man in his late 20s, men should not have to beg to be given a chance to be with the woman, the playground has to be leveled in that women should not be given preferential treatment as equals to men.

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