Beyond the Rhetoric


Has the Internet Made It Harder to Meet People?

November 29th, 2012 by
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Still bare, my office on 8th.

The rise of the Internet has proven to be quite the double-edged sword for society. On the other hand, it has become an abundant source of knowledge and learning, but it is also populated by all sorts of ignorance and misinformation. Similarly, blogging and social media has given every citizen a voice and an opportunity to be heard, but there are many people that we’d probably rather not hear.

And the same is true when it comes to meeting people. On the one hand, we have social networks like Facebook that make it so easy to amass hundreds of “friends,” but how many of these people are really your friends? How many of these people have you actually met in person and with whom you’ve forged some sort of real connection?

Quantity vs. Quality of Relationships

Perhaps this situation is exacerbated by working at home and the associated “urban cabin fever,” but it seems that we are moving toward having a greater number of superficial relationships and fewer close connections. We’re all linked together and we “meet” all sorts of people online, but we really know nothing about them other than what they have posted on their profiles.

To be fair, I met some of my best friends because of the Internet. We connected through online forums and social media, for instance, and if I probably would have never met them if it were not for the Internet. And let’s not discount the business side of things either. If it were not for the Internet, I may have been able to get my start as a freelance writer, I may not have connected with my clients, and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post.

What About Dating?

Perhaps I’m not the right person to ask about such matters, since I married my high school sweetheart, but Internet dating is huge. For people who are tired of trying to meet new people at the bars and clubs, dating sites like can be much more useful and insightful. You can know more about your potential date–like interests and hobbies–even before you ever meet in person. That takes some of the pressure off and it lessens the likelihood that you’ll waste your time with someone who has nothing in common with you.

In the end, I don’t think the Internet has made it harder to meet people. If anything, it has facilitated the process and opened you up to meeting a much larger number of people than you may have otherwise. However, the onus still falls on you to develop these “superficial” online relationships–personal or professional–into something more meaningful and fulfilling.

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4 Responses to “Has the Internet Made It Harder to Meet People?”

  1. Derek says:

    I’m in agreement with the idea that the Interweb has made it easier to initiate relationships with people. While some of those relationships will never evolve beyond the casual online acquaintance, others will become lifelong friends — and I would venture the majority will be somewhere in between.

    There are quite a few people I have met online and would consider to be more than just an acquaintance. Some I have met in person at conferences, some I speak with on the phone regularly, and others I have yet to do either. But without the Interweb I highly doubt I would have ever even been introduced to these people.

    • Michael Kwan says:

      Much like how you and I got to know one another? We’ve never met in person, but I’m happy to call you a friend. 🙂

      • Derek says:

        Indeed, and one of these days I will get myself up to that corner of North America and meet you and a few of the others in the area.

        It would be nice to do that over a Blackhawks vs. Canucks game, assuming we get an NHL season at some point again.

  2. betshopboy says:

    On the contrary, without the Internet, I wouldn’t get to know you and have the chance to join in your thriving online community!

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