Right-swipe Romeo: UNF Professor discusses romance and modern online dating

Jessica May

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Graphic by Sam Chaney

The courtship of what seems like ancient times has nothing in common with the banter experienced over iMessage today. Long walks on the beach and fancy dinners have been replaced “Netflix and Chill” and late night “U up?” texts. But has romance truly died?

When it comes to the science of modern romance, UNF Professor of Psychology Tracy Alloway doesn’t think so.

“Social media can increase entity, because you can make connections,” Alloway said.

Before the introduction of social media, people were unable to meet potential partners from other areas and have true connections with them. Alloway explained that, nowadays, social media users have a higher chance to connect with each other.

In fact, the new wave of dating apps have normalized the idea of meeting potential significant others on the internet. For example, Tinder allows for the initiation of new, potentially romantic relationships and promotes itself as a social discovery platform. According to a study by Leah E. LeFebvre called “Swiping me off my feet: Explicating relationship initiation on Tinder,” Tinder dominates the U.S. with 1.4 billion swipes per day.

The study involved research on how people engage in relationship behaviors through Tinder. The study argues that new technologies are changing how interpersonal relationships functions compared to meeting partners face-to-face.

According to the study, participants felt their potential pool on mobile dating was 46.6 percent better, 29.1 percent same, and 24.3 percent worse than the physically world.

Generally, the participants in this study felt like they had more choices, but choices aren’t always a good thing.

“Dating apps create an abundance of choice, and choice can be overwhelming,” Alloway said.

Alloway also described that this leaves users unhappy with their prospects when there are too many choices.


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