Finding love in the digital age

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, February 15, 2014

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“Shall I compare thee to an online store? Thou art more lovely than an in-app purchase.”

Were Shakespeare alive today, would he write sonnets about falling in love in the digital age?

Brandon Evans

Brandon Evans

Would e.e. cummings still find his strange, soothing sharp words in a world of gadgets and smart phones? His unorthodox use of grammar rules would certainly fit in.

“i like, slowly stroking the, shocking keys of your electric profile, with eyes big like an excited emoticon,

In a world more crowded than at any time in history, many are more isolated than ever. People look for the promise of love in websites and apps and social media. It started with vague sites like match.com and eHarmony but has evolved to much more specific interests like glutenfreesingles.com, clowndating.com, singleswithfoodallergies.com, equestriancupid.com, purrsonals.com, farmersonly.com, blackpeoplemeet.com and – coming soon – blackfarmersonly.com.

As Valentine’s Day passed last night maybe you, or someone you know, had the perfect date with a specific someone they met through a website or dating app.

There’s big money to be made in taking the spontaneity, fate and chaos out of creating relationships.

Last year, 20-somethings Sean Rad and Justin Mateen created a dating app called Tinder. Users log in through Facebook. They created the app where searching for available singles is like playing a video game. Millions of users use the app multiple times per day creating a staggering 6 million matches.

In a culture where our technology tends to isolate us from one another, of course some sort of technology is going to arise that attempts to use technology to connect people.

Many use the technology to give themselves the illusion of participating in a relationship. Sometimes that’s enough.

“You want the feeling that there are enough people that they’re out there,” Tinder user Shawn Dempewolff recently told a National Public Radio reporter. “Even if you’re not going to meet any of your matches on Tinder in real life, the fact that they are there can give you a little bit of comfort.”

But when a real relationship is formed by using these sites and apps, what kind of story can you share down the road? “Well, we were both kind of bored and looking for somebody on the Internet.”

Can you find true love and lasting romance when finding it is like playing a game? And every game always has an ending?

“It won’t matter how you play it. It will still come out the same, every heart’s a loser whenever love becomes a game.” – A. Minter

Brandon Evans is a reporter for the Messenger.

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