Finding love online these days is nothing new, or even alarming. When my friend Trisha confided in me the other day that she met her husband, Eric, on Twitter, I simply laughed and said “me too.” The only alarming thing about our shared love experiences is that neither one of us went looking for love online. Love just happened to find us in the place where we spend most of our time.
Trisha is the social media director for a Washington, DC based non-profit and, as editor of an online magazine, it is a no brainer that I myself, like Trisha, spend an ample amount of time online, especially on social media. In this new digital age, it is inevitable, but we also wondered if we were the only odd ones who just stumbled upon love in a place where we happen to spend a lot of time working, not socializing and looking for love.
This is why when I came across a recent publication of Just Engaged called “Digital Love Birds” on Essence online I quickly hit the share button and passed it on to Trish. Of course, we had a good happy laugh, gave each other an invisible high-five for not being the only ones, and wished the newly engaged couple well (view pictures of the cute couple). But, it also had me thinking: how trendy is this experience for black women? How many black (African women especially) women have found love on social media, especially when they didn’t go looking for it?
According to Talia Thomas, an elementary special education teacher, she met Trayvon Leslie, a tall, handsome, engineer on Twitter through a mutual friend. He saw Talia’s picture and asked Talia’s friend about her. They got connected and had a conversation about sushi and things just progressed from there. A year later, the two are engaged to be married. Trisha, the way she tells it, met Eric on Facebook. He also saw her picture through a mutual friend and asked about her. One accepted friend request and several private chats and messages led to phone conversations, and eventual face-to-face dates that finally led to the altar. And me? My story is a lot like Trisha’s and Talia’s.
We hear a lot of warnings about online dating. There are the dangers and ill-intentions. People aren’t really who they say they are or what they say they are. Stalkers abound on Facebook and Twitter. I have had my fair share of those as well. But what Trisha’s story and Talia’s and mine tells us is that lurking in the shadows of all that danger lies something potentially real and beautiful. And given the grave reality that black women are the least pursued women on online dating sites, having men bold enough to seek us out on our own social media pages is something to uplift one’s love weary soul.
My only word of caution is that you use the same precautions you would use when inviting people into your home. Your social media space is your private space, so be open and friendly, but be smart and careful about whom you let in just as much as you would about people you let into your home. If a man is all about sexual talk from the onset and not about much else, keep it moving (block him if you have to). A serious man will approach you respectfully. Being introduced through a mutual friend or relative is probably the best guarantee that the man after a conversation with you is not just some crazy stalker.
Have you found love on Twitter/Facebook/Hi-Five/MySpace/LinkedIn or on other social media? Please share your experiences and thoughts below. I’d love to engage with you.