Digital love, occupational deterioration and outsourcing

Recently, I ran across a discussion on the subject of online dating in The Dark Side of Technology; a radio show on Turkey’s independant and “intellectual” radio Açık Radyo. Since I had some extra time before my meeting I used to listen to the discussion.

It appears that in the USA, one marriage out of every six is based solely on online dating. With a yearly gross revenue of 1.049 billion dollars, the online dating industry has reached 40 million singles out of a total of 54 million, and the average money spent on online dating is as high as 239 dollars per person every year.

A study shows that while only half of Turkey is connected to the net, those connected are increasingly active, and Turkey, in the recent years has reached a very high percentage of social media usage. It is true that the majority of our relationships do not start in the net, but the role of social media in the developement of our relationships is undisputed.

What is changing?

For starters, the Internet creates an alternative platform for love. Relationships started over a symbolic communication without the actual physical contact differ greatly from our traditional notion of a relationship. Such drastic changes of course, come with their own, brand new concepts.

In the past, an equivalent of “real” marriage was of course (and still is) imam nikahi; religious Muslim marriage ceremony without any legal ground. Such alternative marriages now evolve into things like social media marriages: updating your relationship status in Facebook is like a call to all your friends and relatives. And as such, people who crave for “acknowledgment” from their friends on their relationships update their status. Such concepts that before I had only heard about from acquaintances are now common place even among people my age. The relationship status is a predetermined dropdown list. Of course I should also mention those who want Facebook to specify who they’re in a relationship with, as well as always making sure they upload photos taken together with their sweetheart.

The main point I’d like to make here, however, is on occupational deterioration. A high level female lawyer in an American law firm was a guest in this radio program. The lawyer lady who had been single for a long time decides giving online dating a shot. After searching for the right person in the supposedly highly developed and smart database of the online dating site, she ends up going on a date with a man she calls a “pygme”, someone much shorter than she expected. Being a lawyer, she decides to file a lawsuit against the dating company, saying that despite being very busy she spent a lot of time on this site, chatting and trying to get to know this person, only to be disappointed in the end. The story so far is understandable. What was interesting is that when asked if she has given up on online dating after this incident, she replies that she hasn’t. But instead of looking for a parter herself, she has given this job to her secretary. Now, she says, her secretary sings up, pays for, and searches for a partner on the site after which she, believe it or not she does the chatting until she sets a date for her boss and the prospect. What type of an occupational deterioration is this? Remarkably, she has outsourced the online dating procedure.

Are there other types of oddities in the dating life of professionals?

Yes, there are.

The most prestigious newspaper of the business world, Financial Times publishes a weekly magazine called How to Spend it, advising the rich on how to spend their money. For some time now, I have been seeing the advertisement of an exclusive dating service aimed at professionals at the top of the career ladder; Gray and Farrar. Based on the assumption that only the very rich and successfull allowed, there is an astronomic entrence fee starting from around 5000 pouds. And that is not all. If you think that you can somehow put together such fees from your hard earned money, and find a rich partner that will economically support you later on, you’re wrong. This dating service requies that both parties be sucessful and wealthy proffesionals.

Inspired from the lawyer lady’s story, I thought up such a situation: Now, considering how the lawyer says she is too busy for online dating, I can’t imagine how busy should the professionals frequenting dating services like gray and farrar would be. Who would pay such an high subscription fee?
Probably the accountants.
Who would do the online chatting?
The secretaries.
Assuming the other party is as busy, they would also be in a similar situation. In this case, isn’t it two secretaries having an online love affair?

I can’t even imagine what would happen afterwards…

The moral of the story is, you can outsource absolutely anything, excluding these two:
As a company, your main line of work that gives you competitive advantage in the market,
And of course, LOVE.

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