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Who needs to date anymore?

I've always known that people can pretend. You can pretend your name is something it's not. You can pretend you're from a place you're not. You can pretend you're an age that you're not. You can also pretend to be in a relationship with someone you're not. The entire world can know about your relationship status now without having to know who you are. This is done with the help of Facebook, dating websites, chat rooms, online ads, and more. When I learned of the latest way to start an online relationship, a million thoughts went through my head, and I realized, once again, just how much entry and effect the World Wide Web has made on our real lives.

 

Cloud Girlfriend. The latest innovation in online dating. Except this time, you're not actually in a relationship. Or something like that. Already popular in Japan, the new Internet company claims to help guys who aren't ready to admit, at least online, that they don't have a significant other. Users create (their idea of) the perfect girlfriend, who will write on their Facebook wall and make her presence known through social media. Cloud Girlfriend consists of a network of real human beings that the users interact with and portray their "relationship" the way they want the world to see it. Some of its goals are to fulfill psychological needs such as intimacy and friendship, boost confidence, and give real life experience through the replicated situations. It aims to help guys get real girlfriends, or make old ones realize what they've lost, if they see that someone new, who seems to be the perfect girl and in love with the guy, is after him.

 

My issue, or concern, is not with the site itself, or even with the idea. It is with the fact that the more ideas like this companies come out with, the less important face to face interaction continues to be. Dating sites already opened up a whole new world of interaction for a significant other. You could discover everything about someone and call them a perfect match before you even spoke to them. With sites like Cloud Girlfriend, we no longer even need to put effort into any kind of relationship - real or virtual. Just plug in some information and let someone else live the relationship for us. We are becoming more preoccupied with other things - work, school, money, etc., and not putting time into our relationships with others. Who needs to spend money on a date, or risk getting heartbroken, or go through all of the other trials and tribulations that come with a real relationship, when you can avoid all of that? We no longer have to put any thought into our interactions with others. And quite possible, we will almost no longer HAVE interactions with others.

 

I remember seeing the Facebook page of a friend a few months ago, who had just gotten into a relationship with a girl. He had also just gotten OUT of a very high profile relationship with a different girl. It seemed odd. This cyber girlfriend. All of a sudden they were in love, professing this all over Facebook. She was very attractive, and he hadn't been as "high on the market". No one knew who she was, where she was from, how they had met. She had a limited number of pictures, many of which were provocative. The rumor started that she was a cyber girlfriend. Not so much that she didn't really exist, but that he had just found her online and started a "relationship". But now, who knows what the truth is. This girl could have never really existed at all. She could have been a Cloud Girlfriend, created to make his old girlfriend jealous or mad, and show others that he was still wanted. And yet, he did this for others to see as much as he did it for himself.

 

It's almost scary to think that we won't have to leave our computers for anything. We can order our food to our doors, make business interactions online, rack up a circle of friends, establish relationships, and more, all with the click of a button. Our connection to technology is ever-growing, and with that comes our connection to others - those we know, and those we don't, those that exist online as they do in real life, and those that don't. It seems as though the next few steps forward will be to connect the gap so that there will be no ability, nor need, to separate one from the other. Of course, there are countless consequences, loopholes, "those that don't apply," etc., both obvious and not, that put this notion off. But if we can be in a relationship without actually being in a relationship, and exist virtually without having presence in the real world, we can do anything through our computers. While for some this may seem daunting and inhuman, for many, this would be ideal. Anyways, aren't we past the postmodern and onto the posthuman? Eventually, the phrase "a man's best friend" will soon be in regards to a machine, and no longer a dog.

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