Internet Dating

When I met my now-husband, it was over a decade ago on an online dating site. This was well before Tinder and the like and right in the middle of the time that internet dating was kinda new. New and regarded with suspicion. We went to a party once and people asked us how we met. He said “Actually, we met online.” The silence was deafening. People looked shocked and kinda uncomfortable. I said “We’re gonna come up with a better story than that, though!”

via GIPHY

Over a decade later, we never did come up with a better story. Not a credible one, anyway. And nowadays, online dating is pretty standard. What can I say, we’re early adopters. So when my friend, let’s call her Jane, decided to dip her toes back in the dating pool, I was all for it. Jane left an unhappy marriage several years ago. She focused on raising her kids, relocating and finding a new community. And recently, she decided she was ready to maybe meet someone new.

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INVISIBILIA: The Call-Out

I listened to this podcast, by Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, recently and it made me think about the practice of calling people out. There’s also a transcription available here.

via GIPHY Rosin and Spiegel

If you just want a snapshot, it’s this:

A woman called Emily became heavily involved in the hardcore music scene. She loved the music, going to gigs, travelling with her best friend’s band and being part of the scene. But the hardcore scene was pretty male-dominated and she experienced firsthand things like sexual assault and the way the scene closed ranks around “good guys”. The expression was “good guy, backed hard”, so people making allegations against “good guys” weren’t believed. There was all kinds of sexism in the scene, including expressions like “no clit in the pit” meaning women weren’t welcome in the mosh. She eventually fronted her own band and used her platform to sing about feminist issues.

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I would like to think that many, perhaps even most, of us are doing the best we can to be good people. What constitutes a “good person” will vary, of course, but in a general sense it involves some level of kindness, generosity and consciousness. One thing I know for sure about being a good person, though, is that it is not a competition.

In the sometimes magnified world of social media, however, practices like call-outs and pile-ons seem to suggest that other people feel otherwise.

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We all spend an inordinate amount of time socialising online. Far more than we do in the physical world, that’s for sure. I know a lot of people worry that this is a bad thing but I’m not one of them. As a person who likes to have discussions and see what other people are thinking about or doing, but isn’t always so keen on intense mingling with a large number of people, social media is a blessing. It has actually been an excellent way to filter people, for me anyway.

Facebook, in particular, has been a godsend in helping me sort out who I actually want in my life. Some people seem nice enough at social things, when you first meet them. But friending them on facey shows a whole other side to the mild-mannered guy you had a beer with at your friend’s barbecue. You might have spoken about a mutual love of Game of Thrones, but you didn’t ask his opinion on refugees, marriage equality and climate change, if you know what I mean. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to identify, fairly quickly, who my kinda people are. I realised a while ago now that life isn’t like school, where you have to be friends with everybody. If someone is a jerk, you can just not be friends with them. Don’t waste your awesomeness on people that don’t deserve you. That’s my motto, anyway. You can just quietly click unfriend or unfollow. Unjerk your social media feeds, if you will.

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