Social network profile browsing causes the destruction of courtship

Sarah Palin really can see Russia from her house, if she uses Google Maps. As a matter of fact, she can see streets, avenues, highways and backyards in Russia from her house because the application allows one to zoom in on various locales. And while prospective employers hold professional and academic references in high regard, they’re also checking your Facebook and Twitter posts to see how well you write, and even further, what your views are on the issues of the day. They’re also screening your Facebook pictures for drunkenness and other forms of debauchery. And for just $20/month, you too can investigate anyone’s background on a number of investigation-based websites. But should you

The age of easy access to information has created a curiosity to know as much about someone before we actually meet them in person. And nowhere else is this more evident than in the realm of dating and relationships.

While there is certainly merit to checking out someone’s online profile to avoid dangerous and awkward situations, one can’t help but reminisce about the days when there were courtships in which people would meet in person and learn about each other through face-to-face conversations that required a sophisticated level of communication and engagement. Dating and relationships were once, almost something like art. The mystery and the intrigue often fueled the elegance that is love.

Nowadays, there is no mystery, no intrigue, no sophisticated level of communication and engagement, and certainly, nothing even similar to art. If you don’t believe me, consider this: An article entitled “Google or not to Google before your first date” in the January Issue of “Resident Assistant Magazine,” noted that 43 percent of single adults don’t mind “sacrificing a little spontaneity” in order to know more about their potential dates, while 88 percent “wouldn’t be offended if their date used the web to learn more about them before a date.” Most shocking is the fact that 70 percent of women and 63 percent of men admitted to “Googling” their potential partners before a date.

And many people wonder why, as reported by (a popular site for researching facts and statistics), the United States ranks first in the number of divorces. Dating implies that individuals are equally participating in a process in which they are taking time to get to know more about each other. As highly complex social creatures, interaction is an integral aspect of our lives.

Getting to know an individual is an important aspect of that interaction. In an age of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube, getting to know someone has become more efficient. These mechanisms, however, were not meant to replace but rather to compliment the traditional means of human interaction. While I don’t doubt that there are benefits to using these sites to ensure that the individual you’re about to go on a date with tomorrow or next week hasn’t been convicted of a heinous crime, what you should remember is that it is superficial to judge someone that you could possibly spend your life with based on pictures and posts on Facebook and their Tweets.

If you’re thinking about dating and even marriage, discovery through social networking is definitely not the way to go. You’re better off taking the time to get to know someone substantively than by judging the book by its cover. What you don’t want, is to make judgments about a potential mate based on relatively superficial information that you discover on social networking sites and then have your judgments about the stability of the relationship be clouded by said superficial information.

Relationships are investments, not only in your future, but the future of your partner. They are commitments between people that should be treated with respect, and not subject to the mundane nature that is social networking.



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