The Advent of Online Relationships

Tyler Danner, Columnist

It is not an exaggeration, in today’s era, to state that nearly every person with internet access has had some form of an online relationship involving a person that they have not met in the “real world.” Whether this relationship be plutonic, flirtatious, or a full-out engagement, it’s happening all the time, everywhere. But what leads people to forming these types of relationships? Considering there is no guarantee of the authenticity of the person on the other side, it can be hard to understand these relationships from an outside perspective. Perhaps digital media has allowed people to be introverted while maintaining the facade of being an extrovert. Talking over a keyboard is easier, right? At least that way you have time to think of a witty response without any awkward social silences, and you have a chance to erase the things you type; this is a chance that does not exist outside the cyber-world. Once you say something, it cannot be repealed.

What is the advancement of this technologically-driven society going to look like? Are people going to avoid face-to-face social contact altogether? Will bars be lined with computers through which you exchange messages with the person sitting next to you? It’s not impossible to imagine.

So often though, these relationships do not in the way one party may anticipate. It is so easy for someone to fake an identity on the internet, leading to the fact that people should always be wary of those with whom they are unfamiliar. Shows like Catfish showcase this very concept, and hopefully internet users are taking its lessons into account when making online-relationship decisions. While these relationships may be temporarily fulfilling, it seems hard to replace actual human contact with words on a screen.