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Reality Check: ‘Ring by Spring’ Fact or Fiction?

Procrastinating schoolwork to the best of her ability, a collegiette peers into the glowing light of her laptop. She sips her coffee while noting how impressive the speed of her Facebook scrolling has gotten this semester when suddenly she is forced to pause. “Got engaged” reads the life event update and there is a picture of that girl from her high school swim team smiling delightedly at a guy down on one knee. Slightly schocked by this, she keeps scrolling, only to find another engagement annoucement from a girl in a different sorority. A few days later, she has seen three more of these annoucements and this habitually single lady is beginning freak out. 

This hypothetical (but eerily familiar) story begs a question many of us are feeling this semster; why does it seem like every other person is getting engaged? Is this some sort of new norm?

A study from the U.S. Census Bureau said that the average marrying age was at an all time high in 2013. It reports that women, on average, get married at age 27 and men at 29. In contrast, the average ages in the 1990s was 23 for women and 26 for men. Addionally, 40 percent of couples have a 13-17 month long enagement. So in theory, women ages 25 to 26 should be seeing the most #blessed #engaged posts on social media.

In doing my reseach, the best explanation for why I feel like we’re seeing engagment posts every other day is actually because Facebook and Instagram want us to see them. Each social media platform relies on a series of algoraithms to analzye what ads, posts, and updates I am most like to interact with. If you like and comment on an engagement post on either platform, that data is immediately recorded and the sites begin to find simillar posts to show you. PSA: Facebook-stalking is also included in this data. Nothing is safe. So then you see another post, and you like it because yay for them, and Facebook and Instagram become more confident that this is what you want to see.

Nevermind the fact that you are single and your most serious relationship is with a t-shirt from high school you just can bare to part with. 

In my opinion, it looks like it’s not a shift in culture, but rather a tactical strategy from the apps you love that make it seem like you’re the last non-married twenty-something on the planet. There is a chance that you live in a state with high marriage rate, but more likely than not you’re just being manipulated by the internet. Go ahead and be happy for your friends. The national data says that you’re normal.

 

Hannah Claire Brimelow is a Junior at Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Communication Studies and minoring in French. After her December 2016 graduation, Brimelow intends to continue on to law school and, eventually, work on international adoption policy and children's rights issues. When not writing for Her Campus SMU, she enjoys traipsing around around the world and pretending she's a Texas native.
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