If you are having a crappy day and are letting lose at a bar with your friends, you may not be looking for love. However if a cute guy approaches you and happens to have a remarkable amount of things in common with you, before social networking you might think its a miracle that someone can be such a good match for you. However with social networking, the ability to publicly display your life online and the difficulties in managing your privacy due to a lack of awareness of consequences and changing privacy settings, the likelihood of this happening is more probable and could be artificial. Social aggregator tools like the Girls Around Me app that I spoke about in my class presentation today create the ability for those with ulterior networking agendas to easily exploit social networking data for personal gain. While I am all about social networking to bridge across social circles and make new connections, using social networking data to discover or fake weak ties to create a new bond with a girl you are interested in feels like cheating or a misrepresentation of character.
There are positive sides of social geo-tagging tools; everyone wants to be around good looking, cool people when out on the town. I see how John Brownlee initially laughed about the characteristics of the app with his buds as it is an interesting way to make sure you don’t land up at a sausage party. I don’t believe the developers intended to make a tool that men could use for stalking female bar patrons. However the scalability of data the app was able to produce struck a chord as it provided rich data on patrons in a venue, most likely without their awareness, and in turn created a visual display of women as commodities.
As challenging as the dating scene can be, I think the element of mystery is a good thing and privacy measures should be taken as a shared responsibility between social networking sites and users to make sure that privacy settings are in place and the consequences with having a public profile. Yes it may subject you to many cheesy pickup lines, but at least you will be able to spot any frogs disguised as princes.