Minus the City: Love Bytes

Minus the City: Love Bytes

Erin Mincer, Class of 2017

In the current age of endless technology, you can feel connected with people around the world in a matter of seconds. Using Skype, you can instantly videochat with someone in Japan, receive live-updates regarding someone’s every last thought via Twitter and instantly contract a killer case of FOMO (fear of missing out) by viewing photos of the party you weren’t invited to on Facebook. While social media gives the illusion that you are connected on a deeper level and with more people than ever before, in reality social media does just the opposite – especially when it comes to your love life. 

Few people would ever dare to pick an unflattering picture as their profile picture for Facebook, Instagram or even Twitter.  One of the main problems with social media is that it allows users to carefully craft the exact persona that they want to present to the digital world. We are allowed to pick and choose what details of our personal lives are put on display for all of our “friends” and followers to see. As a result, when considering a potential love interest based upon his or her online profiles, I can almost certainly guarantee you are not seeing the full picture. While they might appear fun, adventurous and witty online, this image might fall flat in real life.

On the other hand, someone might not be super invested in their social media presence creating a falsely negative, uninteresting persona. I consider those individuals who are not obsessed with maintaining their online presence to be some of the most exciting people. If only because (to some extent) they’re out experiencing life unfold before their own eyes rather than through a screen. After someone catches your eye and you do the somewhat inevitable Facebook stalk, and you realize that their profile does not live up to your first impression of them, I suggest that rather than worrying let out a sigh of relief and realize that they (probably) have more going on than their online persona. Judge a potential love interest by who they are in person, not solely by how they are portrayed online.

Social media makes it so easy to judge the false persona that people present – nothing makes this clearer than Tinder. You have the option to post five photos of your choice from your Facebook along with a short witty bio. Despite its superficiality, the app has gained immense popularity, especially on college campuses due to its easy, straight-forward format and execution. And yet, the entire basis is upon superficial aspects, which may also be part of its appeal. At least with Facebook, although it may be skewed, you get a more multi-dimensional view of someone’s personality than with Tinder, where the connection is solely based upon looks. 

While I have heard of rare cases in which people begin dating via a Tinder connection, it is far more common for Tinder to lead to a no-strings-attached style of hooking up. Tinder has the appeal of swiping left or right on someone at such a rapid pace that it almost feels like a game. We receive instant gratification when we get a match, and then promptly continue playing. However superficial this process may be, we must always consider that in the fast-paced world that twenty-somethings reside in, this could be one of the best ways to meet someone without having to waste time on the steps that traditional courting used to entail. Tinder is shallow, but it also makes it so that its users don’t have to over-think the process. Either it’s a match or it isn’t; no mixed signals are involved. 

Other social media sites allow us to access information that we debatably have no right to see. Some relationships fail before they can even begin due to both parties over-analyzing and misreading signals. I sadly know this based upon a wealth of personal experience and anecdotes. For example, I was livid when I saw that a guy with whom I was hooking up with had some girl’s name in his Instagram bio. So, I obviously did the only reasonable thing possible and looked her up on Facebook, just to discover that she was listed as being in a relationship … with him. At this point I very angrily asked (okay more like questioned) him about this girl. To which he replied that they had recently broken up and he forgot to change his Instagram bio. And then he told me that what was posted on social media did not really matter. Um, excuse me? 

Looking back, I guess he had a point, but upon seeing that his apparent “ex”-girlfriend was in his best friends list on Snapchat I was done with the whole situation. So I took the only reasonable path and deleted him off all forms of social media as well as his number. That would show him. Right? Wrong. Since he had little to no interest in social media I doubt he even noticed, but at least it made me feel better. 

But recently I got to thinking what would have happened had I not noticed these signs through social media. Did I even have the right to know about the interactions that were still occurring between him and his ex-girlfriend? Honestly, I might have been better off not knowing; at least I would have stopped driving myself crazy regarding what the truth really was. Instead of pretending that I was the lead character in a Nancy Drew novel, I could have spent more time on important thing … like my finals, for example. 

I know that I’m not the only person who over-analyzes things, especially when it comes to the social media of a new love interest. For example, how many times have you questioned why your crush or hookup sent a flirty message to a girl on twitter or was pictured with another guy’s arm wrapped around her waist on Instagram. What does it all means? Honestly, probably nothing. Like I explained, everyone is constantly struggling to appear as fun and carefree as possible. Yet, in the unlikely event that it does mean something serious, you should, most likely, relax, don’t over-think the situation and let it go.