Michelle Granoski says technology enabled her courtship with her husband, Shawn. The couple met on a dating site.
Michelle Granoski says technology enabled her courtship with her husband, Shawn. The couple met on a dating site.

Story highlights

Technology isn't killing off courtship as much as it's redefining what it looks like

A new generation is adopting digital models for romantic communication

Student: "A lot of our relationship has been e-mailing and texting and Facebook messaging"

Video producer: Mystery associated with romance is "not as strong as it used to be"

When it comes to romance, texting is often seen as a bare-minimum form of communication. It’s fine for firming up Wednesday night dinner plans, but for expressing heartfelt sentiments? Not so much.

That was made pretty clear last week when reality TV star Kristin Cavallari had to defend her fiancé, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, from those who poked fun at her story of their second engagement.

“I was in the airport, leaving Chicago,” Cavallari, 26, tells E! News in an upcoming reality special about her nuptials. “We had just spent however many days together and we were texting and somehow it came up, like, ‘Oh, shall we get married?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah, OK.’”

The couple were first engaged in 2011 but split up briefly before reconciling that same year. Even so, Cutler faced criticism over what many saw as a too casual digital proposal. Cavallari later pleaded on Twitter for people to “stop bashing Jay” because he had proposed earlier in Mexico “and it was very romantic.”

In the digital age, technology isn’t killing courtship. But for many young couples, it’s redefining what romance looks like.

These days we often text instead of speak, use FaceTime instead of having face-to-face discussions and zip through online dating profiles with the same speed it takes to order a pizza. Convenient, sure, but “The Notebook” it’s not.

These habits have many wondering if technology is getting in the way of real romance. But let’s be honest: How many of us have gotten into a heated, or just plain hot, text exchange with a love interest? Chances are, many of the messages saved in your phone are more intimate than your standard pillow talk.

From AOL to OKCupid

Since the early days of the Internet, we’ve used tech as a tool to broaden our prospects for meeting others and finding romance. We’ve come a long way since those AOL chat rooms, and even traditional dating sites are giving way to smartphone apps that can do the matchmaking for us. Using your phone’s GPS feature, mobile social apps such as Blendr, Grindr, Are You Interested? and Plenty of Fish help you zero in on potential dates, or hook-ups, right around the corner.

The upside of online dating: Always a funny story to tell

For the daring, OkCupid recently launched a Russian Roulette-style app called CrazyBlindDate, which sets users up on short notice with someone they know almost nothing about.

It’s not exactly the romanticized version of a fateful meeting, wherein you find your soul mate at spin class or in line for a movie matinee.

The lost art of offline dating

“Those really romantic scenarios are kind of diluted nowadays,” said Philip Wang, co-founder of Wong Fu Productions, a new-media production company based in Southern California that creates short films and video blogs. Wang and his colleagues created a video series called “Technology Ruins Romance,” which makes light of the ways technology could easily solve dilemmas that have been held up as “romantic” obstacles.

The idea came from watching “rom-coms where you’re sitting there thinking, ‘things could’ve been totally solved if he took out his cell phone, or just messaged her on Facebook,’” says Wang, 28. “I understand that movies are meant to escape reality, but even just for fun, you could say, wait, why isn’t he just calling her instead of showing up outside of her door and surprising her?”

A lot of the mystery we’ve t