These days, social media can serve as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the world of social networking brings you a variety of information. That can certainly help in the progress of learning about someone, whether it’s linked to articles that they might enjoy reading or general meditation on life’s happenings;
I sometimes browse profiles to gain more knowledge about a guy that I might be interested in.
But isn’t there anything to say about not wanting to know it all right away, too?
Is social media eliminating intrigue and mystery? And what if we see specific photos, status updates, tweets, or blog posts that negatively affect our view of the individual? Are we going to judge their online activity too quickly?
“I was surprised at the true impact of Facebook on romantic relationships,” Galena Rhoades, a clinical psychologist at the University of Denver, said in Allison McCann’s BuzzFeed article, How Facebook Ruined Dating (And Breaking Up Too). “And I think Facebook plays a bigger role in relationship building and relationship disillusion.”
McCann’s post highlights the little phenomenon people like to call “Facebook Stalking” when it comes to possible dates. While earlier research has identified this behavior as obstructive or possibly problematic, studies have now shown that the ‘Facebook Stalking’ approach is used to “reduce some uncertainty in relationships.”
But don’t we thrive on uncertainty as an enjoyable part of talking to someone new as well? The process of finding out more about the other person, as you continue to spend more time with him or her, is what drives the relationship forward, right?
“One of the most interesting things I find is how social media might help you discover things about another person that you might have discovered later in time if the interactions were purely in person,” Ashley Knox, MSW, said.
“Some people are more comfortable revealing things about themselves online because it may be easier, and it has become the thing to do online these days. Online, you get frequent updates about what people are doing, thinking, and feeling, while in person, people tend to spread more about themselves once they know a person better and have built up trust.”
To embellish that thought, let’s say there are ‘red flags’ on social media networks, discouraging you from wanting to get involved. The same signs that you’re wondering about will surface in person as he or she opens up, lets you in, and shares. Plus, you’ll be able to get a much more accurate reading of the person, far beyond various Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr posts.
This issue is not strictly black or white—it includes shades of gray. I might regard online insight glimpses as beneficial, and I might be wary of seeing something posted that’s unsettling. However, I hope that social media will not prevent me from exploring (in non-digital life) for further understanding.
I know that technology is making rapid progress, becoming a prominent tool in our day-to-day lives, but these sites may not yet have that power over us.