Issue 17: Love in the Age of Social Media
Now that Halloween is over, it’s officially ‘cuffing season’—time to cuddle up with somebody now that it’s gotten colder. Dating and love in the age of social media can be tough, though. In this issue of The Slow Scroll, we look into how the digital world has impacted love.
Loneliness and Dating with No Social Media
Loneliness has become an influencer trend on social media: the “It Girl spends her time alone and is seen on Instagram.” In the name of wanting to present as authentic, it’s become a trend to post highly staged photos of oneself alone (even if the influencer actually has a partner).
For those who are attempting to quell their loneliness by dating, in our modern world, it’s a red flag for some who don’t have any social media presence whatsoever.
Ironically, the social media that you use to slide into somebody’s DMs and filter your dating pool can also later be the cause of the demise. One recent poll showed that 20% of responders felt that their partner doesn’t give them enough attention. The number one culprit? Social media.
For every new app to distract us (or to try to get us to settle down—see the Marriage Pact app from Stanford), there are movements to connect us back to what really matters: human connection. Meet Perchance, a New York-based startup that creates in-person events in “direct response to digitally-driven loneliness”.
The rules of engagement are interesting, for not only do attendees have to ditch their cell phones at the door, but they are also forbidden from talking about work, making it “impossible to gauge someone’s success or determine their ‘worth’ based on a perceived salary” attached to a job title. It strips us down to who we really are: humans with interests, and not our jobs or social media presence.
There are other odd restrictions, like the age range (25-38), but they host events for all sexualities and gender identities. Other dating apps may move into the experience space soon—Bumble is slated to open a cafe in New York City, which will serve ‘date-friendly’ food. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on more movements like this in the future.
Interview: Lyndsey Wheeler, CEO of Perchance
Want to know more about Perchance? Here’s your chance: this week, we chat with Lyndsey Wheeler, the Co-Founder and CEO of Perchance. She’s currently building a better future for dating and human connection via catalytic, in-person dating experiences.
Where’s your happy place?
Currently, I live in Brooklyn and my happiest place is crossing the Williamsburg bridge—looking out onto the river and the beautiful city from a Birdseye view.
Was there a moment when you came up with the idea of Perchance? What were you doing before?
In the year leading up to founding Perchance, I was obsessed with the idea of digital wellness - ie., maintaining a healthy relationship with technology. My previous project explored how we can use technology to soothe, meditate and reconnect with ourselves instead of to compare ourselves to others or feel like a slave to social media. I got to the point where I was looking around and noticing that going inward is important, but that connecting with others, developing community and friendship and finding love are even more important. And the way dating apps and social m edia have oriented us as a society has made it harder than ever to connect. So I started reimagining what that could look like.
Have you used Tinder or any dating apps before?
I remember I was in college when Tinder came out and my friends and I all downloaded it and treated it like a game rather than a viable way to meet people. Unfortunately I think that’s part of the problem—the apps are gamified to make you “keep playing”. And when real people become characters, it’s easy to judge them, ghost them, or swipe right past them.
“…The way dating apps and social media have oriented us as a society has made it harder than ever to connect. So I started reimagining what that could look like.”
What’s your favorite way to get bored?
It’s very hard for me to get bored because I’m really curious. I love going on runs that turn into hours-long walks just exploring new neighborhoods or places in the city. Going without my phone is the best—l love to serendipitously stumble upon new spots.
What tips would you offer our audience on how to have a healthier relationship with tech?
At our gatherings we ask people to set the intention not to look at their phone during the evening and just giving it conscious thought goes a long way. I apply this to social gatherings when I’m out. Usually I leave my phone in a bag off of my person, so I don’t even get tempted to check it when it buzzes.
Another huge game changer for me was setting a no tech in the bedroom Policy. Starting to sleep with my phone and laptop outside my bedroom helped me unplug a bit easier and sleep more soundly.
Thank you Lyndsey! And as always, thank you for your attention. At the Slow Scroll, we always welcome feedback, prompts, and tips. Feeling lonely? Just email us.