Office love stories from water cooler to click of a mouseby Angelica Basile - 2017.07.05
If you have fallen hopelessly in love with a colleague and you don’t know how to tell him/her, today it is possible to let a robot do the dirty work for you. Thanks to the new and well-publicized meeting app Fleed that can be installed easily on any company’s computer platform. The way it works is actually pretty basic: you send a message to the bot (a type of automatic response tool) with the name of the beautiful/handsome office mate that has your head spinning. If the bot receives a response from him/her with your name, both parties will be notified. If not, no one will ever know of your mad crush and there will be no need to run out the door in embarrassment at the end of the workday.
This approach was created by the creative minds of two U.S. programmers who offer a service that responds to two trends, apparently each one distinctively different than the other. The first responds to the increasing number of people who are looking for love, online. The second places the office as the most likely place for love stories to blossom. Above board and below. Which Moira Weigel explains clearly in Labor of Love, that documents the historic beginnings of office romances, tracing them back to the 1920’s, when women, for the first time, stepped out of their aprons and into the workplace in significant numbers.
And all of these women suddenly wanted to be stenographers. Not only to establish their long-awaited independence, as became clear by the secret hopes expressed by many to seduce the boss, and marry him. Hence, the young girl who could have it all – a job, a good salary, and a successful love life too, is a myth that has resisted up until today. In fact, a study published in 2012 documented the fact that for those who fell in love in the last two decades of the last century, the office took 2nd place, only to personal introductions by friends, as the go-between for two people looking for love.
Then, however, the Internet turned the whole game upside down. Love stories blossoming from behind desks continued to decline. In fact, there were 50% less, as the online dating scene exploded and drugged half the world, with Tinder and Gindr and the phenomenon became even more frenzied.
Today, finding love in the office – explains Lisa Mainiero, university professor in Fairfield, Connecticut – went from being a tabu to being an ancient artifact. To preserve as a symbol of truly pure, spontaneous contact with other human beings. A symbol that we risk losing forever, thanks to the world wide web. And, as might be expected, the professor’s hostility towards bot and Fleed becomes evident. These tools, in her opinion, would assign an undisputable conquest to the Smartphone, as the “permanent center of gravity” of human existence. And, just like we keep our cell phone plugged in 24/7 so as not to miss some essential communication from our bosses or co-workers, so too will we install our dating app, that can keep us hoping and dreaming that Mr. or Ms. Right could be sending us that special message at this very moment.
The only problem is that no one seems to have taken into considering the potential danger in trying to fuse in one instrument two very different components of our daily lives – work and dating – that technology has definitely rendered more sterile and less human.
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