My Digital Valentine

By Casey Lyons | Boston Magazine |

IN AN AGE WHEN everyone is a digital brand, we’ve become experts at expressing ourselves — or at least our aspirational selves — all over the Web.

Nowhere is that more evident than the dating realm — matchmaking sites had 593 million visits last October alone. Today, 20 percent of singles say they have dated someone they met online.

Yet as the pool of potential matches expands, so too does romantic idealism. With so many fish in the sea, the logic goes, my exact match must be one of them. The result: “People don’t know how to make concessions anymore,” says Janine Bush, president of Stow-based J. Allen Matchmaking.

And then there’s the other wrinkle: As social media merges with our social lives, we draw conclusions about our dates before we’ve actually met them. But as Gary Genard, president of Arlington’s Public Speaking International, points out, “Those [online] environments are much less rich for giving people information that they can use to judge whether they like us.”

So, what’s a Net-savvy dater to do? Use social media as a tool, not a strategy, and keep romantic tweets and posts in their proper place. For the record, the proper place is never while on a date.

Illustration by Michael Cho

  • Mike

    Interesting post. I think the problem with most dating sites is they attempt to give you dozens of data points about a person which you can use as a filter. This is just not natural, and creates a checklist mentality.

    I created a site called http://www.truconnection.com, launched 2 mos ago in Boston area and NYC. It is a place to write and meet others. No detailed profiles, no algorithms. Members see simply your photo + writing. Check it out! Totally free!