Could Instagram Dethrone Online Dating?

Social Networks
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Kids these days. What crazy shenanigans will they come up with next?

The latest word is that online dating may be on its way out – and that even includes explosively popular mobile apps like Tinder – and that social networks may be on their way in.

“But wait a minute,” you say, “weren’t social networks always in?” Of course they were, but it's only now that people are starting to appreciate them for their full romantic potential. And it may surprise you to know that the social network leading the dating charge isn't Facebook or Twitter – it's Instagram.

Elizabeth Wisdom and Dennis Lafargue, a now-engaged and now Internet famous couple, met using the photo sharing service and documented their courtship on the app. They started out trading flirty comments, then moved on to swapping numbers, and even involved their Instagram accounts in their engagement. When Lafargue made their relationship official, he called Wisdom his “instalady” (not entirely sure if that's cringeworthy or cute). Together, they officially declared that “Instagram is the new Match.com.”

It's one thing for a happy couple to document moments of their lives on Instagram, but Wisdom and Lafargue took it to a whole new level. Lafargue prepared a timeline of their relationship via Instagram photos, combining both their moments together as well as their own separate, first moments using the app. It was a fitting tribute to the service that brought them together in the first place.

For those of us who aren't so involved in sharing our every moment with Instagram followers, it sounds a little crazy, but Wisdom and Lafargue are far from the only couple to tell this story. Even celebrities are getting in on the game, like iCarly actress Jennette McCurdy, who connected with NBA star Andre Drummond using social networks.

“I backtracked on his Twitter page a few months and checked out his Instagram,” she wrote in an op-ed. “He appeared personable, youthful, and fun. And judging by the amount of me-related posts he had shared, it seemed he had been expressing his crush on me for quite some time. I found it sweet, gutsy, and flattering. It’s hard not to be impressed by a boy who will express his feelings for you in front of hundreds of thousands of people.” The relationship didn't work out, but while it lasted the two documented their time together on Instagram (of course).

There isn't yet any research to determine whether Insta-dating is just as effective as traditional online dating, but no research is needed to prove it's a real trend. And given that more and more young people are abandoning Facebook and Twitter in favour of Instagram, it sounds like it stands a real chance of becoming the next big thing.