Social media and technology play a huge role in Millennial relationships, revolutionizing the way we communicate. Because we’re so tech-savvy, we sometimes spend more time experiencing society through uploads than we do through face-to-face interactions. With technology, socially awkward Romeos and hopelessly romantic Juliets brandish online courage, and while digital romance certainly has shiny appeal, it wields a bit of a dark side.
In 2014, Facebook boasted an outrageous 864 million daily users, Tinder matched 15 million people per day, and Twitter shared 500 million Tweets a day. Even if we disregarded these social media giants, there’s no denying our cell phones are a necessity. Ninety percent of American adults own cell phones, according to the Pew Research Center. A whopping 67 percent of those people admitted checking their phones even when they weren’t ringing or vibrating.
To state the obvious, having a dating app or social media site at hand is downright convenient. A lot of us are chugging along in a hectic atmosphere, and whether it’s college or a full-time job, we just don’t have time for Olden Day social concepts. Tinder lets us decide our match with a swipe, Facebook gives us details and Instagram is our yearbook. Even the pressure of meeting someone is significantly diminished as we completely eliminate physical rejection. Our iPhones and Androids compose the perfect texts, tweak our spelling and allow us to avoid awkward phone chats.
Communicating is so much faster. There’s appeal in instant gratification, as we constantly check our phones for likes, notifications and shares. It’s how we meet people now. We don’t need school dances or nights on the town. We just need a few social media accounts and a trigger-happy finger. But it’s not all happy hashtags and hearts out there. Technology can be a real drag on a relationship, too.
“I think social media makes dating so sneaky and jealous,” Ashlynn Denny, a senior at the UNF, said. “It just puts more rules and stress on relationships.”
Another study from the Pew Research Center states that 42 percent of cell-owning 18 to 29 year olds claim their significant others were distracted by their phones during time spent together. The numbers add up, with couples admitting disagreeing over online time and feeling disgruntled about their partner’s social media activity.
“Facebook and Instagram lead to arguments over ‘why are you liking this girl’s pictures or who is this that keeps commenting on your statuses,’” said Richard Cash, another UNF student. “It keeps all of your interactions with friends, acquaintances and exes open for both parties to make up their own interpretations — and get unnecessarily worried or jealous over.”
But let’s face it, jealousy and paranoia are nothing new with blossoming, young couples. Communication is the same concept, perhaps with a different delivery. We might be bolder at the keyboard, experience more flavors-of-the-week and hashtag all of our thoughts, but one thing remains: love is one complicated emoticon. Pun intended.