In my communication theory class this week, we talked about the Social Exchange Theory. With this theory, the idea is that we are constantly seeking to minimize cost and maximize rewards with our relationships. The "minimizing cost" aspect of this theory doesn't necessarily refer to the amount of time, effort, or money put into a relationship (although it could), but rather the negative aspects of a relationship or the other person in the relationship themselves. A lot of people will be quick to defend themselves in saying that they don't look for a significant other that's better than the one they're currently with. However, in this theory and in human nature it is a lot of times our instinct to be always looking over our shoulder for the next best thing.
Naturally, this got me thinking a lot about social media and computer-mediated communication. Has the introduction of social networks and online dating sites increased the presence of the Social Exchange Theory? Online dating sites are all about maximizing rewards and minimizing cost, aren't they? People log onto those sites hoping to find the person that they are the most compatible with, and they'll browse through hundreds of profiles looking for that perfect person. Does the search really stop when they find a significant other?