Dating as Seen Through Instagram

    At one point in time, communicating was simple. It was an exchange of words that happened in person or handwriting. Due to fabulous technological advances, today there are now hundreds of ways to reach someone — meaning, there are also about a hundred more ways to misinterpret someone’s message.

    As a generation we’ve made a pretty smooth transition from phone calls and love letters to texting and instant messaging. Getting a handwritten love letter brings up more questions to young people then an IM, even though the simple use of something like “ttyl” would confuse the hell out of the love letter generation. Only one person has ever sent me handwritten love letters, which were quite sweet, but confusing nonetheless.

    There’s a scene in an episode of “Girls” where Hannah recently finds out she has HPV and the guy who gave her the STD got it from a girl that often likes Hannah’s Facebook statuses. She complains to her friend Marnie, saying “It’s like, ‘Sorry I passed you an STD but I really enjoy your quirky Web presence.’” In the last few weeks I’ve received an odd amount of likes on Facebook and Instagram from people I’ve dated or hooked up with in the past. And no, no STDs, but like Hannah, I felt like their appreciation for my “quirky Web presence” was just as odd and it made me wonder what it meant, if anything at all.

    I fell out of touch with them primarily because I moved back to school since the summer ended and so there wasn’t so much as a phone call. But with so many new ways to communicate (and so many ways to confuse me and most other neurotic girls), these exes and old hookups have been passive aggressively liking pictures of some DIY project in my apartment or embarrassing “selfies” of my roommates and I. I wasn’t sure what to do so I just disingenuously liked a photo of their car or band back and figured that was even. I don’t want to read too far into any of this because that’s the one thing a girl in this situation shouldn’t do. I have no interest in perpetuating crazy girl stereotypes. But in general, I’m interested in how dating communication has changed since the emergence of such technologies and what’s next. Are we really all going to go back to MySpace (it does actually look pretty cool) and bring back those horrid bulletins we all posted in seventh grade? At least I’ll have my stellar communications classes to guide me through all this, right? Well, maybe not so much.

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