On How to Date (Nowadays)

3/10/2017 10:57:00 PM

Speaking of loving someone to the stage of dating, each of us has different ways of interpreting its meanings. However, when we interpret how to love someone, we're heavily influenced on how our society interprets it. Like a saying that I have quoted in my previous post by La Rochefoucauld, "There are some people who would never have fallen in love if they had not heard there was such a thing." that emphasized on how the people around us' fault is affecting our ways of loving. This post is going to tell you nothing on how to date with another person but just a reflection on how dating nowadays is viewed through the lens of communication theories.

How our society perceived 'loving someone' and then turned into the stage of 'dating' is heavily related to the development of technology. Try to look at Technological Determinism Theory,  an assumption that was initiated by McLuhan that technology can bring a new culture without changing a wider structure (McDougall, 2012). A long time ago, asking a dearest one's news or just saying hello can only be done by correspondence mail. The time it takes to be on the hand of the receiver is also dependent on how far the receiver is from the sender. If their location is nearby, then they can meet in person at a place that's reachable for both parties instead. Talking about life over afternoon tea or coffee every day. However, along with the rapid development of technology, communication can now be done in real-time, anytime, without delay or hindrance through short messages or chat. That also influenced how the way of dating today where the existence of the dearest one can be replaced by a few words in chat reply. Therefore, it is uncommon if the conflicts in relationships nowadays is circling around someone who's furious because the dearest one didn't reply to a short message and is often interpreted as "do not love me enough" or "not always been there". When in fact, whether the message is replied or not, the presence of the partner isn't there with her/him. It's just a text, a couple of characters.

However, with the development of technology too, there is a theory which emerged to counter and criticize Technological Determinism Theory called Social Construction of Technology. SCOT believed that technology can change the culture, but the change of technology itself also exist because of the demand from the society (Williams, 1974). We can take the example from dating application like Tinder, OkCupid, or else. The existence of technologies that facilitate the meeting of two people who are having the same purpose, to find a partner, is based on the society's demand to encounter new people. With the algorithm in such way as well, many dating apps can even present a psychological test feature or checklist of the ideal partner to make it easier for us to find the ideal one we're looking for. This phenomenon happened also due to the difficulties of finding moment or event to meet new people that can lead to finding a partner.

The debate on which theory is most relevant in this era will never stop if we see it technology and culture as a causal effect. We can see its relevance only by seeing the technological context, for that matter. Perhaps we can see the clear idea if we try to see the technology and culture as chains that link to each other which makes them can be influenced both ways. 

Reference:
McDougall, Julian. 2012. Media Studies: The Basics. New York: Routledge.
Rochefaucould, François de La. 1959. Maxims. England: Penguin Classic Book.
Williams, Raymond. 1974. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. London: Routledge.

(Written for university assignment.)

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