Social media, dating and Hookup Culture

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Hump Day

Photo Credit: Colin Zelinski | Daily Texan Staff

Has social media, technology and “hookup culture” changed the way we date? After personally spending a little too much time last weekend talking to people through the dating app Tinder, I’m going to go with a resounding “yes.”

In an article in The New York Times titled “The End of Courtship?” Alex Williams wrote, “Traditional courtship — picking up the telephone and asking someone on a date — required courage, strategic planning and a considerable investment of ego. Not so with texting, e-mail, Twitter or other forms of ‘asynchronous communication,’ as techies call it.”

After meeting someone new, we almost instantly ask him or her to friend us on Facebook. Rather than getting to know each other face-to-face, we attempt to draw conclusions about what his recent likes of Furby, Fanta and Muscle Milk could possibly mean.

“Technology is what ruined dating and relationships,” undeclared sophomore Celena Garza said. “Take texting for example. It’s rare that someone has an intimate face-to-face conversation. Everything is ‘via’ something.” 

Conversations through technology, rather than face-to-face conversations, can create false depictions of who someone is. How many times have you had fantastic conversations with someone through text, yet in person you realize you have nothing to talk about? This is of course if you get so far as an actual date, which according to researchers is becoming a rarity in today’s hookup culture.

“Instead of dinner-and-a-movie, which seems as obsolete as a rotary phone, [young people] rendezvous over phone texts, Facebook posts, instant messages and other ‘non-dates’ that are leaving a generation confused about how to land a boyfriend or girlfriend,” Williams said in the article.

Donna Freitas, assistant professor of religion at Boston University, is the author of a book to be published in early April called “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy.” 

“Young people today don’t know how to get out of hookup culture,” Freitas said in Williams’ article. 

According to the article, after various interviews with students, Freitas concluded that men and women alike “are deeply unhappy with hookup culture” because it does not allow for dating, romance and intimacy. 

“It’s not that technology and college ‘ruined’ dating and relationships,” said Jasmine Vallejo, government and public relations senior. “I think that hooking up is preferred to being in a relationship. College life has a stigma associated with it that the only way to fully get the college experience is to complete it single; therefore, students prefer casual sex rather than the whole title of being taken.”

Even though much of our initial dating occurs through technology and social media, would sitting by your land line phone for hours waiting for someone to call be that much better? 

And not to worry, despite social media and hookup culture, we are not destined to become incompetent dating zombies restricted to texting, Snapchat and meaningless hookups. Although norms have shifted when it comes to dating, this does not mean today’s culture cannot cultivate long-term, loving relationships. 

Government senior Mackenzie Massey shared the story of her nearly two-and-a-half-year relationship, which she said “definitely started as a hookup and developed into something more.” 

“There was no asking out on dates or courting in the beginning, just hanging out and hooking up until we kind of fell for each other,” Massey said. “After that, there were dates and normal courtship things. And now, we’re making plans for the future.”

Let’s face it, if you want to have more face time with the people you are dating, you have to pick up the phone and speak the apparently scariest sentence in the English language: Let’s go on a date.