For more than 20 years now, it’s been possible to meet people online. And as the internet has evolved so too has our ability to meet and connect with citizens in our own towns and around the world.
The first dating websites appeared in the mid to late nineties and helped to hand a new lease of life to the traditional lonely-hearts columns you would typically find in your local newspaper.
At first, these websites enabled us to display basic information about ourselves and a photograph, which was typically fairly low-resolution. The rest was left up to the users’ sense of curiosity and adventure.
The advent of the smart phone and all together faster connection speeds have revolutionized the industry, while the stigma of online dating has almost completely disappeared, to the extent that around a third of relationships now start online.
That figure is predicted to grow in the years ahead and many observers anticipate that this will be the pre-eminent way to meet your significant other, as opposed to the traditional methods of a chance encounter at a bar or social occasion with friends.
But what is the true potential of digital relationships and is it reasonable to suggest that the majority of our interactions could one day be through the medium of a camera – and not face to face?
Platforms for interaction
Across many media, digital interaction is already a reality of life. In the gaming industry, players from around the world connect with one another remotely to compete, including close existing friends, but also total strangers we’ve never met before.
Much of the communication is through a headset, but it’s also possible to communicate through webcams while playing, while services like Twitch connect gamers to enthusiasts via the same medium. Here, the technology has helped take a hobby that was traditional enjoyed in bedrooms and often categorized as being anti-social – especially if it’s one-player game! – and transform it into a more social experience that connects people like never before. Friendships are formed between players that last a lifetime.
But it’s also a possible to build a relationship with your opponent or, as we’ll see in this example, ‘the house’. Increasingly, the biggest online casino providers are turning to live dealer technology to enhance the experience for their players. Indeed, alongside the latest offers and bonuses, live dealer versions of the best games are championed by providers, such those found on Bonus Finder Canada. The live dealer games are available on PC, tablet and phone, so you do not have to be tied to your desk to enjoy them.
The technology provides opportunities for human interaction while practicing a digital hobby that otherwise wouldn’t expose them to it, while an added bonus is that it helps create a more immersive experience for the player, who for whatever reason may not be able to find their way to a real casino. Meanwhile, outside of gaming, platforms like Skype have set the curve for video calling during the last 20 years, and helped friends and family members stay in touch, no matter where they are in the world.
As technology accelerates, it is natural that we express our concerns around it limiting our real-life experiences or adventures outdoors. But it’s unfair to dismiss the platforms it has created for face-to-face interactions that many otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
In addition to being in touch online,, it is now possible for your digital “self” to make an impression on people before you even meet them in person. They say you can’t change a first impression, and, well, have you ever Googled yourself? Do you know what others would see when they Google you, looking for answers about you before they meet you face to face, or before they continue gaming with you online? While this helps us to get a background on someone before we finally come up close, it can also give a very odd or wrong impression of a person if their digital footprint is messy or problematic.
To make sure your digital footprint doesn’t hurt your real-world interactions, you should be careful about what you post and put out into the world.