NEWSLETTER | WOMEN IN MOTION
Love ... One Click Away
The World Wide Web has surely brought with it enormous convenience when it comes to personal interaction and engagement. Today, people can, among other things, shop, chat, do research, as well as conduct business, and not be restricted by time and distance. However, trust continues to be the main concern for the majority of Internet users, especially when it comes to Internet dating.
Trust, one of the main factors when someone is seeking to find a soul mate or a long-term connection, is not something that can be gained ‘later on’ – it is usually the foundation of a personal and intimate relationship from the very beginning. So, therefore, although more and more people are turning to the Internet for dating purposes, only a handful of individuals are successful at eventually forming a truly satisfying and long-lasting relationship anchored on trust and love. According to attractlovecoach.com, over 70% of single adults have tried online dating in their adult life, yet only a few have been successful.
by Nomia Machebe
Approaching the Internet blindly is the last thing one wants to do when it comes to surfing the net for a romance. This is because one never really knows for sure who the other person is, what their principles are, and what their intentions are. Even if someone is able to view a photo of the person they are interacting with, one never really gets to experience the real person, since it is all about electronic communication. Therefore, a lot of diligence and a safe approach are a must.
Also, since most Internet sites that provide counsel on finding love online only go as far as advising people to fix their profiles, update their pictures or adhere to a certain mode of conduct so that one does not scare potential suitors away, it does not require deep reflection to realise that it surely takes more than a good picture or a great profile to find love. No matter how well a personal profile may be written or how well an image may be photo-shopped, these will never be a replacement for real interpersonal interaction – they will never be the key or secret to ‘living happily ever after’.
Generally speaking, in order for one to get to know another person better, direct interaction is vital. Also, it is important to have an opportunity to be able to observe the other person when they interact with other people without them knowing that they are being watched – this provides a natural and honest environment to make an informed and safe decision. The Internet, which is an excellent communication medium and a great interactive tool, only allows individuals to interact under a ‘controlled environment’; therefore, what one sees or experiences is highly orchestrated.
Although there are good and honest people out there; and though many websites are based on sound values, it is important to bear in mind that the Internet is equally full of ‘time-wasters’, scams and fraudulent activities.
Over and above these, on many dating sites there are people who are not willing to reveal their true identities and, even worse, are not keen to eventually meet in person. These individuals are mostly bored and merely want to communicate with someone, but only online, and they will only continue to communicate electronically. It would be excellent if these ‘guys and girls’ were explicit about their intentions from the beginning and noted these in their profiles. However, they mostly do not.
The downside of Internet dating is that it hugely limits our ability to improve our communication skills. Usually, the more time a person spends on the Web, the less time he or she is left with to interact face to face with other people. Therefore, someone who may truly be an excellent communicator online may actually turn out to be a real antisocial being in real life.
Another downside of Internet dating is that, despite the Internet being a worldwide network, it is not accessible to the entire world population, so one only has access to a percentage of the this population. In short, the Internet excludes a large number of people who may have a lot to offer as far as a relationship is concerned, yet who do not have access to the Internet.
There are many reasons to doubt the effectiveness of online dating – and let us not even get into how many people lie online about their age, height, weight, physical location, standard of living, and marital status.
Having said that, of course it is not all doom and gloom in the dotcom space. Finding love through the Internet is possible, and the stigma which was once attached to online dating continues to fade away. There have been a few cases of people who have found love online, and who have married. However, these are in the minority.
Nevertheless, should one be fortunate enough to find love online, it is important to ensure that, before a commitment is made, safety measures be put in place. A meeting at a public, yet safe, place should be arranged. One of the popular dating sites suggests that an arrangement be made to meet somewhere public such as a book store, restaurant or local monument where there is a lot of activity, because safety continues to be a major issue globally.
All in all, when it comes to Internet dating, we should always be on our guard when clicking those buttons. Remember, as Internet users, we are responsible for our own safety and wellbeing. Interacting with irresponsible individuals online can be disappointing and traumatic, especially if we are looking for love. Sometimes, instead of finding Eros and living happily ever after, we may wake up only to realise that we are caught up in a different kind of web: a web of lies, and one which the British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, never ever intended to create. Either way, the odds of finding love over the Internet are high!