“Your eyes are f— intoxicating to look at.”
“You’re so sexy wow.”
“Babe your smile.”
On Sept. 13, I entered the world of virtual “love.”
Yes, I, as a passionate introvert, submitted to today’s ideals of socialization. Somewhat of an outsider in high school, far more focused on my latest novel project or travel endeavor, my social media experience had begun and ended with the Facebook profile. During free periods, my friends would fill me on the “latest,” shocked at my oblivious nature regarding the recent relationship status’, friendship scandals and classmate’s ostracizing mistakes. In fact, I’d almost laugh when I’d get the ever present question: How do you communicate with your friends?
I talk to them.
Believe it or not, it is actually possible to keep in touch with your friends when you have names, rather than numbers.
But here I was, posting my very first selfie, reflecting every impersonal aspect to my character.
And the results were shocking.
I was accepted.
What began as a social experiment, ended as a psychoanalysis of myself.
The discovery? The more complete strangers “liked” my posts, “swiped right” and commented on my appearance, the more addicting the experience became. I also found myself questioning everything about human relationships. The line between what was real and what was fake became as blurred as a poor resolution photograph.
To “fit in,” one must be self-absorbed, self-obsessed and therefore extremely self-aware. Not in the way in which one might proudly showcase their originality, but rather understand their unique traits, so that they can diminish them, therefore conforming as much as possible. In fact, the dating app culture is hardly fostering relationships and rather encouraging one’s love affair with themselves.
Think about it.
What was the true purpose behind the golden hour bikini photo shoot with your three best girl friends? The photo that you admiringly captioned, “What would I do without my beautiful ladies?”
Be honest. This photo should have been captioned, “I need the likes so that I can feel better about myself and my body.”
This same theory may be applied to the use of dating apps, such as Tinder.
Perhaps one initially downloads the app for “human” contact, but this addicting aspect of the swipe, is all due to the relieving experience of self acceptance. Yes, self esteem is now self-medicated through the use of social platforms.
It doesn’t actually work.
Much like the initial effects of caffeine and alcohol, they wear off. This is how the creators of Tinder make their money. They keep you swiping to reinstill that false sense of confidence. In the recent documentary “Swiped,” it was even revealed that the creation of the swipe by Jonathan Badeen was based on human psychological addiction behavior. Research scientist Justin Garcia shared the shocking statistic that adults ages 18-30 spend an average of 10 hours a week on dating apps and websites.
We’ve all seen the Match commercials, featuring happy couples sharing their virtual meetings for the sake of advertising, but what we don’t see behind the smiles, is the danger and risk involved in these websites–our evolving “hook-up” lifestyle and the increasing rape rates as a result.
And the more the dating app culture prevails, the less the essential human need for relationships will be fulfilled.
I challenge you. Put down the phone. Refrain from snapchatting. Stuff your hands in the back pockets of your jeans, if necessary.
Look up. And rediscover the lost art of human connection and love at first sight.
Kate Luongo is a contributor to The Daily Campus Life section. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .