How do males & females use Facebook as a platform to initiate flirtatious activity?
Social media has become almost the be all and end all regarding interaction and although it has its own purposes as a business tool, it is mostly used for flirtatious activity.
In today’s day and age, social media is the next big thing and this has become intrinsically part of our popular culture in many ways. As argued in books such as Reading the Signs, popular culture can be defined in several ways which include the portrayal of adverts in a given commercial and other similar issues.
However it is social media which is now gaining the upper hand in popular culture and this is reflected in the phenomenal growth and success of sites such as Facebook and Twitter which dominate everything these days. Before, popular culture was more centralised in issues such as pop songs and other articles which brought along the message of being apart or different from one another. With Facebook being principally a social networking medium, the possibility of using music videos and pictures as catchy pickup lines is actually endless.
Throughout the different social networks, most commonly, Facebook, MySpace, twitter,
and YouTube and many more, information sharing differs amongst different age groups. Social networks have caused a revolution in the way how users - particularly teenagers – share information about themselves and others. Boyd, 2007 espouses extensively on the importance of social networking amongst youngsters and how this can be used to establish dates and other social encounters. Ellison, 2007 speaks about the importance of social networking as a means of gathering new relationships and new friendships.
Three males and three females aged between 18 and 20 were interviewed. They were asked various questions on the suitability of Facebook as an interactive social medium. The focus groups were full of interesting discussions as well as the sharing of experiences which contributed to the final results and findings of the survey.
The research undertaken here has shown that people do not really use FB to initiate causal relationships. The males and females selected for the study seemed to be quite ambivalent about the situation. The fact that Facebook is a social network where pictures can be exchanged and where dating can be arranged is part and parcel of the whole argument. Is it a good medium to initiate flirtatious relationships?
After interviewing a number of males aged between 21 and 23 and some females from the same age group and cohort it was concluded that people do not really use Facebook to initiate any sort of flirtatious or causal relationship. It was ascertained that people don't use facebook to initiate any sort of flirtatious or casual relationship, it they know the person, they would talk on Facebook but would prefer talking in person or through text. If they don't know the person, they would not consider talking to them at all. There does not seem to be much interaction with strangers although the poking method is sometimes used. Most of the responses confirmed that flirting is preferably initiated in person and the females expressed the desire that they would much prefer personal contact than having to respond to pokes or messages on Facebook. Some of the responses also included the fact that picture sharing is very popular and this can eventually lead to an encounter but this is by no means a given, at least according to the research done. However, if it’s a friend, it appears that talking on fb is fine but is to be kept at a minimum. Others actually do know people though who have used fb to help facilitate or initiate contact with strangers or to start a relationship. Looks didn’t seem to matter.
When asked if Facebook is the medium where they meet new people, two of the girls said that this is not the case and that they do not know everyone on their Facebook either. They responded that most of the meeting is done in class or outside in person although there have been some cases where FB is the medium used to initiate relationships. Another one said that if she received a message from someone whom she didn’t like, she just would not respond. It also seems that the use of the phone for texting is much more acceptable in terms of pickup lines and social interaction. It seems that although Facebook has much better qualities regarding video interaction, picture interaction and other similar uses, the phone is the preferred method to create social exchanges.
It seems that if the girl knows the other party and this boy has asked her out for a date, she does not need Facebook to confirm this. The discussion will take place just the same and if it will not be on such an intimate level, there is no need for FB interaction.Yet again the issue of texting comes into the equation since it seems that this is the preferred method of communication amongst younger people.
Regarding males and their approach, this is somewhat different. Some responded to the question about Facebook slightly disparagingly even attempting to convey feelings of indifference although this was not really believable from the focus groups. One particular response was interesting:
“Are you meeting a new girl? Does FB Change anything?
Answer: “Yes but the approach isn’t made through FB. I don’t even flirt, actually even being nice is considered as flirting. So when you use FB and act nicely, it is sometimes considered as being flirtatious. FB can seem creepy sometimes so I prefer meeting in person as that is a a lot less creepy”
There seems to be a general opinion however that one has less to lose on FB than in a face to face meeting. A FB encounter means that strictly speaking, the face cannot be seen and there is more time for the girl to ignore. Eventually though, one has to meet in person anyway – you have to ‘risk it’ so to speak was the opinion of one male. Rejection is perhaps more acceptable in a face to face meeting.
Yet again the girls continued to emphasise that FB is too weird and that there are too many weird dynamics in it. “You never know what a person is going to say exactly and the voice, tone, sarcasm and body language are missing, you simply can’t get that on FB. I much prefer to meet someone in person”
An interesting point which was brought up by one of the males was that it was preferable to meet on FB first if the girl in question was ugly. However another said that after a while, conversation dies on FB and that is another important issue.
Today the whole jargon of communication between young people and adults has changed completely especially with the singular phrases which are turned out by these social networks that are always different and always strange. This has redefined popular culture in a way which we cannot truly pin down accordingly although one has to admit that life is not always a bed of roses.
A typical example where popular culture is at the forefront of proceedings is when a social network such as Twitter begins to create a situation where a topic trends much more than another does. This means that people will interest themselves in that topic in a way which will bring out the core values of the topic and this will start being talked about all the time. This means that culture will have been portrayed in a sense that everything will be focused on the fulcrum of life without borders.
Popular culture myths
However popular culture can also be seen in different ways especially when one focuses on how life today is so different than what it used to be. With advertising continually playing a hugely important part in our life, one has to learn certain advertising techniques so as not to be caught out in the cold when certain products are advertised. For example the myth that women are all out to have unprotected sex with men is regularly portrayed in advertisements and commercials which also show this sort of promiscuity. The truth is obviously very far from all this although advertisers would not admit it and continue to portray this situation with regular monotony.
This brings about a considerable dilemma when one is faced with popular culture mannerisms which infiltrate our everyday lives. Everything changes when life takes on certain aspects and we are all faced with moral dilemmas which show us the importance of controlling popular culture and its pervasive influence on everything we do.
However the importance of popular culture is also prevalent in the way we view it from a distance. Perhaps a tweet on Twitter about the Hollywood glitterati would make us all jump up accordingly or else we would be looking at the same tweet from a different viewpoint. The same goes with Facebook as a particular group would appear to be trending substantially higher at some stage although when it is viewed a few weeks later, this group would have vanished into oblivion with no more heard of it.
Generation gaps may also exist in the way we define popular culture and this is immediately apparent when discussing the interpretation of a book as a typical example. Popular culture may also be prevalent in political issues of the day and where politics is important this often takes pride of place. The way a t shirt is worn also indicates the importance of a certain viewpoint which might mean that life is simply the way forward in this respect but could also mean that some others are being blocked in achieving what they want or need.
Conclusion – what to be used for dating?
Popular culture remains important in every respect but one must also observe the subtle nuances and viewpoints which might be achieved if this is not properly maintained. Yet again one has to observe the strict behaviour that some cultures adhere to before everything comes together into one fell swoop. Comparisons may be odious here but there’s no denying that popular culture makes up a crucial and important part of any nation’s psyche. As we can see however, it seems that Facebook is not the preferred medium for dating over the internet although it has improved matters substantially. The focus groups which were conducted amongst the younger generation of males and females strikingly preferred personal contact for dating and this shows that even though there are substantial methods which improve personal communication regarding dating, face to face remains the best ploy.
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