Introduction to the love in the age of technology feature

A look at how modern technology impacts romantic relationships

loveGraphic by Evan Tremblay.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Every year on Feb. 14 many couples mark the occasion with romantic displays of affection and gifts; meanwhile, many single people mark the occasion by being depressed they aren’t a part of one of the aforementioned couples.

Love is something that impacts everyone’s lives and Valentine’s Day is heavily ingrained in our culture. That being said, it’s probably best not to take the “holiday” too seriously. Like most traditions, it’s riddled with clichés and manufactured emotions. However, it’s those traits that make phenomena more deserving of a scrutinous eye.

The occasion marks an opportunity to spark a discussion about modern conventions in romantic relationships. We could have looked at love from a number of different angles, but “love in the age of technology” seemed like an approach that hadn’t been tackled very thoroughly by mainstream media, and one that was increasingly relevant to the lives of students.

Love is a complex phenomenon, one that is hard to define—although we will try to do so—and the dynamics of it are constantly mediated by the technological capacity of the era we live in. Like light through a prism, it’s a singular phenomenon that can take on a number of appearances.

A comprehensive look at how romantic relationships are influenced by modern technology would include historical analysis, review of theory related to human interaction with technology, exploring the cultural significance of love and its neurobiological foundations, and drawing upon a nearly endless supply of case studies.

As usual, our topic could take over this entire issue of the Manitoban if we had the time and space to fully explore it. Unfortunately, our discussion is confined to four pages, in which we will try to draw out the most pertinent ideas.

The feature will include articles that attempt to define love, question the term “age of technology,” and look at some of the specific apps, websites, and other technologies used to find romance, as well as a debate about the impact (both positive and negative) of new technology on romantic relationships.

I hope that the contributions to this feature can offer you further insight into how technology might impact your own relationships. If you spend time with a significant other over the weekend this might serve as an interesting conversation piece; if you spend time alone it should provide just as much entertainment as a topic for personal reflection. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.