It’s no secret that people have been using Facebook not only to (re)connect with existing friends, but to make new ones, usually based on mutual acquaintances. Given sensationalist news stories1 about the worst that can happen from Facebook, some are reluctant to friend anyone they don’t know personally, just as they would not immediately share personal feelings with random strangers.
But the Orthodox Jewish social world is driven very much through intermediaries. Upon first meeting someone, it’s normal for people to play “Jewish Geography to see if there are any mutual acquaintances. Additionally, many Jews will infer an individual’s basic character traits based on where a person lives or went to school, fairly or unfairly relying on internal cultural stereotypes. In the realm of Jewish dating, I’d guess that most people are set up either through professional shadchanim or mutual friends, intermediaries who ideally know both individuals personally.
While there are in fact several shidduch groups on Facebook geared specifically towards setting up members, I’m curious how many times people use Facebook to set up two mutual friends, or at least find mutual friends on their own and ask for assistance. For example, at this time I have 1,258 friends (I started on the site back in 2004), and many of those people comment on various posts and links such that we get some great discussions going. Or someone may see that I commented on someone else’s post and will follow the link etc. The point is it’s very easy to peruse someone’s social network, either
stalkery actively or just through normal usage.
So my question is, to what extent are people using FB for online Jewish dating, given that people often put up more current pictures and share more of their personalities than they do on most dating sites? I’d guess the risk of meeting a creep would be just about the same and you’d have the independent verification of a mutual friend.
It seems so obvious I think I’m missing something.
Update: Turns out there’s already a website geared to such things: http://www.thread.com
1. And this is all from the past month.