Oh good old social media. You gotta love it huh?
Social media has revolutionised the way in which we communicate with others and ingest information. From being able to talk to strangers halfway across the world by simply typing one tweet, to sharing photos of your favourite garments online to a possible audience of millions, never have we had so many vast options in how we choose to share our lives.
But what does that mean when it comes to the subject of dating? Now if you’ve been following me online for a while, you’ll probably know how much I love a good rant about online dating (the good, the bad and the ugly), but as I scroll across my Instagram feed filled with couples cheesing away at the camera, videos of men making grand gestures to their other halves with followers commenting #CoupleGoals and couples parading themselves on their IG stories looking sickly sweet and incredibly cute – I have to ask myself – are we expecting too much from relationships and dating?
I won’t lie, as a Single Sally, I do sometimes feel that pang of envy and sheer loneliness when I come across a really cute (often staged) photo of a couple being adorable, or the flurry of engagements and marriages that have recently made their way onto my timeline. I understand that social media is a way of people informing others about their happiness and I totally get it, but in a way it sometimes does make me feel the need to put pressure on myself to get boo’d up too, especially as a plus sized, darker skinned woman. As I mentioned in my earlier post about dating, when you look a specific way that falls outside of the spectrum of what society considers ‘beautiful’, then there’s all the more pressure to find someone and post them online as quickly as possible in a bid to proclaim your validity as an ‘attractive woman’ who’s been able to get with someone who finds them attractive.
Speaking personally, as someone who is quite visible online I’ve never really felt the need to display all aspects of myself – especially when it comes to relationships – as it feels nice to keep certain blocks of your life private. Even during my last relationship a few years ago, I barely posted up photos or videos of us aside from the odd anniversary post, as not only did it open me up to comments and criticism about us as a couple, but I just didn’t feel the need to enforce my relationship on others in a bid to prove how adorable we were or how loved I felt by someone else.
It’s clear that social media has definitely affected the way we look at dating and relationships. I mean, there are even some apps that have social media feeds and message boards for users to interact with each other and share photos! From posting up snapchat-only filtered photos or staged interactions with pets and babies (I’m look at the men here…) we’re at risk of losing sight of what real love is.
The dating expects over at Match have conducted a survey which looks at how social media has impacted us Brits’ outlook on love and relationships, and it found that a third of both couples and singles feel disillusioned by images of ‘perfect’ relationships online. Singles who are heavy users of social media (those who check social media ten times or more each day) are also twice as likely to experience feelings of low self-esteem when seeing pictures of happy couples online compared to intermittent users.
Match will be launching an interactive pop-up experience this week to help de-bunk the myths and invite the public to celebrate a #LoveWithNoFilter. What does this mean I hear you ask? Well, it’s basically stripping back the Insta-filters, grand gestures and comparisons, and trying to celebrate love during a period of time before it became a ‘need’ to show off your other half for likes and comments. Don’t get me wrong, we still need our Instagram husbands (Lord knows I do, these pictures won’t take themselves *sigh*), but social media and our frequent comparisons to others can be extremely damaging, and we need to talk about it!
The free pop-up experience will be taking place this week from this Thursday 29th November to Saturday 1st December in Shoreditch (12.30 – 21.00), and will feature a myriad of different activities during the day, including things such as a mural from London-based artist Lakwena expressing #LoveWithNoFilter which will be located outside the venue. Inside will be filled with talks and advice from dating gurus and anthropologists about the impact of social media on our love lives, how to avoid comparisons on social media and also finding out the science behind love.
People looking to visit can register their interest in the event here and it’ll be so great to pop along to open up the conversation about relationships and the sometimes-rubbish effects that social media can have on our self esteem… It’s time for us to drop the poses and facades and recognise that love is for life, not just for Instagram.
This post has been created in collaboration with Match.com.