UNCA Crushes page prompts questions about online dating

By Maddie Stagnaro – [email protected] – Staff Writer
As Facebook, Twitter and Skype grow into increasingly popular forms of communication and relationships arise through online dating and other means of digital media, the UNCA Crushes Facebook page only continues to gain popularity.
“With all seriousness, it’s more amusing than anything else. People have said some really sincere, funny and even some hurtful things, which is never fun,” said Daniel Bradley, a 22-year-old mass communication student at UNC Asheville whose name was mentioned the most on the page.
Jay Cutspec, director of health and counseling services, said he primarily uses Facebook and LinkedIn and enjoys keeping up with family friends. He said it is a good way to keep in touch with friends in Asheville and former students.
“I think (online dating) is great. For most people, dating is a very stressful and anxiety-producing event, and I think for some people it can be so anxiety-producing that they don’t do it, so I think online dating is a good way for some people to initiate the process, because they feel less vulnerable and less anxious about it. I think it brings more dating opportunities to people who do that,” Cutspec said.
Cutspec said he and his wife had a long-distance relationship for three years, and they have now been married for 26 years. He said they lived in a time when Facebook and the Internet didn’t exist, so whether it is online or face to face, it is important to get to know each other and get past the initial infatuation.
“I think the real danger in online relationships is not that it’s online or in person, it’s that people don’t get to know that other person. In an online situation, you have to really present what you choose to present in terms of who you are, and those kinds of things, and I think it’s harder to do that face to face. I think online dating is great,” Cutspec said.
Cutspec said as long people are making good decisions and focus on getting to know the other person to determine if they are a good match, online and long-distance dating can succeed. The infatuation, he said, is the danger. He also said we can portray ourselves to be something that we are not and you never know who is on the other end.
“In some ways, people may reveal too much too quickly because it is easier for people to type something in then to say it face to face,” Cutspec said. “There is a false sense of closeness.”
Cutspec also said he doesn’t think this technological means of communication will take over relationships and most people are social enough. They seek out people they want to interact with, and he said he does not see this changing.
Cutspec said Facebook and other social media websites can be a good tool to communicate with each other and bring people together if used wisely.
Abbey Billman, 20-year-old assistant at the IT help desk and senior at UNCA, said our society is moving in a direction where it will be dependant on technology.
Billman said she hopes the future will still leave her with a choice of not having to participate in a heavy use of technology.
“In a superficial, or simpler, or broader and more global way, it is useful to keep in touch with friends or family you haven’t seen in awhile, but I still think that face to face has more depth, importance and intimacy,” Billman said.
Billman said if these corporations continue to commercialize and if they are only looking to make a profit, the industry could divide us as a society.
“If it is focused on connecting people and helping people communicate than helping the people’s interest, it will do better things than it is now,” Billman said.
According to Bradley, the page reflects this time in history.
“When most communication is transmitted electronically, this is unfortunately fitting for this day in age. Although I am guilty of relying more and more on text messages and emails, I still like to write letters and do things that are actually meaningful,” Bradley said.
Bradley said he would like the student body to remember not to take Facebook and Crushes page so seriously.
“Although it has the potential to be used for harm and harsh things have been said, overall the page can act as a venue for our deepest UNCA love secrets,” Bradley said.