I’ve heard every argument there is about dating from the Twitter pool, and I’ve come to one conclusion: Everybody should just shut the fuck up about it.
Online dating isn’t new. Sites like LavaLife, Plenty of Fish and E-Harmony have been around for years. Before the internet, even, there were video dating services. They’ve been lauded by some, but mostly mocked and dismissed as “something only desperate people use,” or, “only good for casual hookups.” But in a world where the ever-expanding world wide web is used as the primary mode of communication for millions of people, it’s only natural that romantic networking would happen alongside networking for business contacts.
In some ways, I’m preaching to the choir. The majority of people who read my blog found me through Twitter, so I’m sure that a lot of you are on the same page as me. I know people who have met through Twitter and are still dating. Way to go, you guys! Just keep it off the feed. I know you’re deliriously happy, but I don’t need to know how amazing your @girlfriend is every two seconds because (duh) I probably already follow her and can judge that for myself.
This is being addressed to the people who don’t live their life online; I know some of my family look down on the fact that I have, in fact, met men online (Twitter, more specifically) and dated some of them for periods of time. Those people will never truly understand. I tried to explain over the holidays to some of them that meeting people on Twitter is no different from meeting somebody in a bar; there’s a connection, initial flirting and conversation, and the decision whether or not to take it to the next level. It’s fun and exciting gives you the same thrill you get when somebody you like asks for your number.
The only difference is that the internet is shrouded in anonymity. It is completely possible to be Catfished by somebody, and that’s always been a concern for me. What if they’re not who they say they are? Well, be smart about it. Arrange your first meeting in a public place with lots of people around. Find other people who know them online and verify that they are who they say they are. I’ve met so many people and every single one of them was exactly as I was expecting them to be, and that gives me faith in the human race (at least on the internet).
There is a plus side to the anonymity of the internet and Twitter. It allows people to be less reserved than they would be in real life, which can lead to intense attraction to a personality before physical attraction even really comes into play. You can never really tell what somebody’s going to look like from that one tiny thumbnail, so writing somebody off before getting to know them can be avoided. I’d say, especially in a town like Vancouver, that’s a huge advantage over meeting people in bars and clubs. +1 internet!
My family seemed to accept my argument, no matter how skeptical, but I know that they’ll never fully understand where I’m coming from until they actually experience it for themselves. They’re writing off an entire group of amazing people. And if things go bad there’s always the unfollow button. I bet you wish you had one of those for real life.