The only real surprise here is that the number is so low: according to a new survey of 1,922 single British adults by online dating service parship.co.uk, roughly two-thirds (65%) said that they search for potential dates’ social media profiles online before stepping out on the town -- otherwise known as “social media stalking.”
And there is a high rate of attrition resulting from this furtive review process: of the 65% who admitted to social media reconnaissance, 77% -- or 50% of the total -- said they had rejected a date request on the basis of something they discovered via social media.
This survey is interesting for a number of reasons. For one thing, the simple framing of the questions shows how much dating has changed in just a few years. It seems likely that many of the single adults surveyed are meeting people online in the first place (for example through dating sites) then trying to fill out the limited portrait available from dating sites by locating their profiles on other social networks, which might give a fuller picture of who they really are. Maybe we can call it a “semi-blind” date.
It’s amazing to think that once upon a time, people who were looking to make romantic connections had to actually meet someone in person, and like, talk to them, before they could get to know anything about them. Thank goodness nowadays we make our personal information available to all via the Internet -- it saves time for people who are trying to judge us!
Indeed, our self-surveillance is making it easier for other people to render judgments on our fitness for a range of tasks and privileges. In addition streamlining the dating process, employers are using social media to vet potential employees, colleges and medical schools are checking out applicants, insurance companies and mortgage lenders are evaluating our lifestyles and financial responsibility, and services like Klout help companies determine who wields the most social media influence (and therefore deserves special perks).
Me? I’ll be over here, hiding in this cave.