Flirting on Facebook, for instance, always involves an active negotiation of how public or private you want your flirting to be.
After “adding” your prospective partner (and who adds whom is certainly part of the flirting game), there are multitudes of ways to initiate flirtatious contact – each with different levels of visibility.
You could post on their “wall,” which is immediately visible to anybody who clicks onto their profile page; write a note under one of their photos, which is less visible but proves you’re into them enough to look through their albums; or finally, send them a direct message, something that is hidden to the outside world.
The signals sent by this complicated private-public dance are multifaceted and certainly prone to ambiguity.
Given that all your partner-to-be’s friends will immediately see your wall post, posting on his or her wall could be considered somewhat daring – the equivalent of going up to somebody on the dance floor. You are openly signalling your interest and raising the stakes.
Yet, equally, opting to use the most private service on Facebook – private person-to-person messaging – can be powerful as well, as it could indicate a more serious and sincere interest.
You are not interested in making that inside joke to the entire world, it says, you only interested in fostering your connection to them.
In the end, Facebook is often a gateway to “more serious” forms of flirting, like longer emails or (gasp!) flirting in “real life.”
Befriending your prospective partner on Facebook means that you both get to stalk each other’s photos, interests, wall posts and other ephemera, or to send a witty message or two back and forth. But usually, the significant events in any new relationship are saved for another format.
A necessary skill
Nevertheless, proficiency with technology can be an important dating asset, nowadays. And part of getting to know someone is finding out how he or she handles modern communications, what type of messages he or she sends, when and how many.
On the other hand, dating somebody who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account can come in handy sometimes – it’s easier to disentangle yourself when you break up.
JD / DPA / Expatica
In the second of this series, we examine break ups in the age of technology: Breaking up in the time of Twitter.
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