If you thought the “Missed Connections” section of the oh-so-creepy Craig’s List personals was disconcerting, just wait until you see what likealittle.com is doing to rev up the world of online flirting. The newly popular website follows in the online stalker footsteps of Juicy Campus and our old friend Facebook in making our everyday interactions increasingly obscure.
While “Missed Connections” allows users to post anonymous descriptions of complete strangers in public places, likealittle.com merges this idea with the immediacy of Facebook. Users can “Share,” “Like,” and “Comment” on other user’s posts in real time and see when the author posted the sighting.
The post has a template on the right side of the screen that’s shockingly straightforward. You fill in the gender of the person you’re looking at (sound creepy yet?), the color of their hair, and the place you’re stalking them… er… admiring them from afar. The last text box is simply labeled, “Flirt” and encourages users to anonymously fill in some ego-boosting words.
Other users’ comments on the post are also anonymous, and no one involved has to have an account or a username to use the site.
So, what are Clarkies’ flirting styles? Some are simple. “At the ac: Female, Brunette. long hair in a pony tail and green top. totally the cutest thing i’ve seen in a long time!” Others are a little more disturbing. “At Library 2nd Floor: Female, Blonde. Lady in Purple sweater and brown whatever… I just wanna say I love the way your hair is all wild. I want to see how while it is underneath those clothes on that banging body. Just tell your friend u will be back and meet me on the 5th floor male bathroom.” Is this what everyone does in the AC? It’ll definitely make you think, the next time you’re sitting down to work on a group project and that kid in the corner won’t stop making eye contact.
Others using the site are clearly only there for a hookup, while others are legitimately giving someone a random, anonymous compliment with nothing else intended.
The really funny moments are when someone is “found out,” meaning the admired has spotted the admirer. One person commented, “lol flirt in person! if you feel the need to talk to me that much, just do it.” Is this really happening? What is technology doing to our ability to interact with one another?
Many schools are on the site, including the top dogs BU and Stanford, among others.
The website touts itself on the homepage as “a ‘dangerously exciting’ anonymous flirting experience,” which only leaves me wondering who called it “dangerously exciting” in the first place. The only thing dangerous about sites like this and more overtly, Chatroulette, is that they are trying to merge real-life situations with the internet. I watched a documentary recently about how different it is to communicate through cyberspace. It takes away facial expression, tone of voice, body language, and the general nice feeling of interacting with someone face-to-face. It also creates a huge gap in which miscommunications can arise. The internet also makes us all act a little differently. It’s a lot easier to rudely comment on someone’s crappy video on YouTube than perhaps speaking that same sentiment to their face.
“Offer a compliment to somebody,” the site reads. “…and please no negative messages or real names,” because we all just want to remain creepishly anonymous and not actually have anything real come of our actions online. It’s all like some weird cyber fantasy world, but the scary part is that it’s slipping into reality.
Just how much can unreal, electronic interactions cure college sexual frustration? How far will this removal of the personal aspect go? Tons of people are using sites like eHarmony, Match.com, and OkCupid to do their bidding, but just how successful are these staged interactions? In the age of information, all the answers are laid out for us. You can see someone’s interests, activities, sexual orientation, and their preferences in partners right in front of you. It’s like having a huge cheat sheet… but is it really helping?