Getting married in the digital age

I read this article recently and it got me thinking about my own upcoming nuptials and if/how they’ve been shaped by today’s tech/social media culture.

Basically, the author of the article talks about going to his daughter’s wedding recently and gaining an appreciation for social media/technology.  He realizes that due to the existence of social media, cell phones, etc, his daughter has maintained more friendships post-college than his generation was (generally) able to do.  He also notes being surprised that his daughter seems to have maintained close and meaningful contact with her friends via outlets like gchat and Twitter.

The article did give me pause because when I think of social media, I often think it provides higher quantity but lower quality contact.  So I wondered if perhaps this author was right and maybe my own wedding has been influenced by social media/technology.

Okay, okay, so pretty much everything has been influenced by the internet these days.  I mean a lot of my wedding decor ideas are coming from Pinterest.  And of course, my fiancé and I announced our engagement on facebook and it was heartwarming to watch our change in relationship status get likes and positive/congratulatory comments.

But my wedding has been influenced by the internet in more ways than that.  I mean, I met my fiancé on an online dating website.  Like I said, I was 27 when I met him and I was working in the Domestic Violence field, so there weren’t a ton of opportunities for me to be meeting men.  Ten years ago, I never would’ve considered online dating – even if I’d been in the same position I was in when he and I met.  But in the past six or seven years, it’s become more mainstream and now there are a wide range of people on internet dating sites.  I know some people may disagree with that, but whatevs!  I bet most people reading this can think of at least one person who met a partner on Match or OkCupid.  Every now and then when I tell someone that my fiancé and I met online, they look at me funny.  But usually those people are a bit older than me and have been married for awhile.  Divorcé/es of all ages and people in their 20s and 30s don’t think twice about it.  I mean, the bride in this article (who’s about my age) met her husband on OkCupid.

So I have the internet to thank for the love of my life.  I doubt he and I would have met otherwise.  Even though we lived in the same section of a city and attended the same school for our graduate educations, I still don’t think we would have met otherwise…

I also think that the internet helped us at the start of our relationship and before we were living together.  Of course, we spoke on the phone to “catch up” on days we weren’t hanging out in person.  But when we weren’t on the phone or seeing each other in person, we would text and email and feel more “connected,” I guess.

And then there’s the guest element of our wedding…  Just how many people have invited because we stayed friends via the internet?  Well, I’m friends with almost all of them on Facebook (except a few who don’t have a Facebook page – yes, this does actually happen) and I am able to know what’s going on during their day-to-days to a much greater extent than if they weren’t on Facebook.  And then of course, there’s email.  It can be hard to imagine a world without it.  But twenty years ago, email was not the norm and in the not-too-distant past, it didn’t even exist.  People needed to use actual (snail) mail to write to each other.  And as the author of the article points out, writing letters is a task that usually falls to the wayside of other priorities.  With email, though, you can type that same letter and with the click of a button, it’s in your friend’s inbox.  I know it’s something we take for granted now but think about the fact we can write to two or more friends at the same time.  If you and two friends were a trio in high school, college or at some job but now live in different areas, you can still communicate via email or gchat all together.  This was not a possibility in the past – or at least, it would’ve required a lot of orchestration to do via mail.

But the other element of technology that helped me stay in touch with friends from my past, is the cell phone.  I know, I write that like it’s some new, wondrous invention (as if it hasn’t been commonplace to have one during the last 14 or so years).  But I really think it’s helped.  The author of the article mentions that it was hard for him to stay in touch with college friends partly because long distance phone calls were so expensive.  With monthly plans, it has been much easier to have long catch up chats with friends all over the country.  I think email and cell phones are really what helped me stay in touch with friends from different eras in my life.  If I’d graduated from college in the 80s or even early 90s, none of this would’ve existed for me.  And perhaps, I would’ve fallen out of touch with some friends.

So despite the fact that the internet can leave us feeling busier but emptier at times, it’s true that it can also enrich our lives.  So here’s to that – and here’s to getting married during an internet era!  Hey, plus, technology lets me make this blog!

Facebook wedding invitation

Facebook wedding invitation (Photo credit: markhillary)

FYI – this is not ours… we did send out actual, non-electronic invitations!

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