The Role of Social Media in Online Dating | Are We Oversharing or Just Sharing Enough?

Social media in online dating

Who would’ve thought a couple of decades ago that you’d be able to swipe right on someone while sitting in your pajamas, elbow-deep in a bag of Doritos, and binge-watching an entire season of a show on Netflix (or Hulu, or Prime, or AppleTV–there are too many options to list)?

And no, I’m not talking about that potato chip grease smudge on your screen that resembles Tom Hardy (or George Clooney, or Margot Robbie, depending on your personal tastes).

This is all about online dating apps and the sidekick that it didn’t know it needed (or perhaps could do without?): social media.

The Quest for the Perfect Profile Picture

First things first, your profile picture. Some brave souls use their LinkedIn photo (suit, tie, and all), and let’s be honest: nothing screams “I’m serious about love,” like a professional headshot taken next to a potted plant.

But for the rest of us, it’s an intricate game of choosing between that beach picture from two years ago (because the lighting was just *chef’s kiss*) or a quirky photo with our cat named Professor Whiskers. Why not both? You can showcase your professional and crazy cat person sides!

It’s the age-old question: How much sharing is oversharing? If their last 10 tweets are about how much they love pepperoni pizza, you might think, “Soulmate? Or just needs a new pizza place?” And if their Instagram is filled with selfies taken at different angles in the same room, you may wonder if they ever leave the house or if they’ve mastered teleportation and just choose to stay in one room.

picking profile picture

instagram on smartphone

The Insta-Paradox

And then there is Instagram, aka the modern photo album.

Remember when you had to actually meet the parents before seeing someone’s childhood photos? Now, all you need is a username. 

But here’s a little nugget of wisdom: if their Instagram profile has more #Sponsored posts than actual personal photos, they might just be into you for those sweet referral bonuses or trying to drag you into a cult or pyramid scheme.

Checking the Relationship Status: A Digital Hurdle

Facebook, the grandparent and “get off my lawn” of social media, still plays its part. Even though Mark Zuckerberg changed it to Meta, it’s still Facebook; we are not calling it the Metaverse, no way.

The relationship status feature on that platform can be both a blessing and a curse. “Single” is clear. “It’s Complicated” can be a red flag or just a sign that they can’t figure out Facebook’s settings (in which case, do you really want to date someone who can’t navigate a dropdown menu?).

And it’s possible that, like me, the relationship status was set 10 years ago and I haven’t been back to change it, meaning it’s not what my relationship status actually is.

dating app profile

sharing on social media

Stories: A 24-hour Window to the Soul

Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, or any other platform du jour, stories offer a quick peek into someone’s life. But beware of the overly-filtered, overly-joyful, or overly-boring stories.

A true balance in the content can be a sign that they’re just right. If their daily routine includes making a smoothie, a quick workout, and then complaining about the said workout, you might just have found someone genuine–and a possible gym buddy to complain about working out with!

And then there is my beloved Twitter, where subtweets might just be the modern equivalent of a Shakespearean sonnet. “When someone doesn’t text back… 😒” – is that about you? Or their food delivery service? The world–and you–may never know.

To Share or Not to Share

While social media has made it easier to get a quick overview of someone’s personality, habits, and preferences, it’s also blurred the lines between genuine sharing and blatant oversharing. Do we really need to know that they are hashtag “Blessed” every single morning? Maybe not.

Do we need to see that picture of the salad they were about to eat, or maybe not eat, because who knows on social media? It could be somebody else’s salad, but it looked aesthetically pleasing. Definitely not.

But a periodic check-in about their favorite book or a great movie rec? That could be just the right amount of sharing.

Social media likes, comments and subscribers

Final Thoughts

While it’s tempting to deep-dive into someone’s social media when in the online dating world, it’s essential to remember that not everything you see is the full picture. Some things are just for the ‘gram, while others are genuine snippets of their life. So, next time you find yourself scrolling through someone’s profile at 2 a.m., ask yourself: Are you getting to know the real them, or just their top-tier filter game?

Remember, in the end, nothing beats getting to know someone face-to-face, or in today’s terms, screen-to-screen. So, keep swiping, keep sharing, but maybe keep that embarrassing karaoke video from 2015 where you sang your heart out to Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ to yourself!

Molly Davis
Molly Davis

Molly is an East Coast writer who lives on West Coast time. She’s been in the journalism field for over 20 years — newspapers are her first love but she’s finding digital media to be just as fun and challenging as print! When she’s not giving therapist-quality dating advice, she’s curled up watching movies, reading, or volunteering at local dog shelters.