Sioux Falls, SD
Instead of getting to know a date over a romantic candlelight dinner, many young adults are first connecting by the glow of a cell phone or computer.
Technology is changing the way people date and it's becoming increasingly difficult for many to navigate the unspoken minefield of tech etiquette.
With an estimated 54 million single Americans in the country, about 40 million have tried online dating, according to the Washington Post. Among them is Andrea Bode.
"It's a lot more socially acceptable to have met someone online verses going to a bar and picking someone up. I think it's a lot safer and smarter," Bode said.
The 29-year-old met her current boyfriend online and recently moved from Sioux City to further their relationship.
"If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be with him," Bode said.
She says technology introduced her to her soul mate and maintained their long distance relationship.
"Using Skype was a big thing for us and texting back and forth while I was at work and couldn't have our face-to-face conversations or phone calls. So Facebook and text messaging and Skype really helped," Bode said.
Twenty-two-year-old Sawyer Vanden Heuvel says two of his friends connected through Twitter and he also uses technology to connect with potential dates.
"I think there is such a deeper connection with face-to-face but your relationship can connect further with social media and texting," Vanden Heuvel said.
And between social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, plus email and texting, staying connected is easier than it's ever been.
"It allows us to be more connected than we were before. We're probably talking to people we date more than we ever did. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it's bad and can get people a little paranoid at times," Kyle Jameson said.
Twenty-five-year-old Jameson says he frequently uses texting to connect with potential dates. But despite all the advantages, a single miss-type and the cyber connection can fizzle before your eyes.
"It's given people an avenue to research a potential date. But on the other hand, it provides an avenue to appear as though you're a stalker and come across as a creeper," social media expert Paul Ten Haken said.
Ten Haken says technology has significantly changed the way people date over the last several years.
"Dating has really evolved into a digital first, person second. The first thing you do if you are interested in someone or get to know more about someone is you Google them, right? Or you go to their Facebook profile," Ten Haken said.
But these young adults say a line can be crossed from being friendly to being annoying online.
"I think friends who are barraged with messages. I think anytime you can post too much, connect too much. So I think just seeing someone in public, just take it easy, take it slow," Jameson said.
Another turn off is logging on to social media or texting while on a date.
"I don't think it's okay. There are always certain circumstances where that would be okay. But first dates, leave your cell phone in your car, turn off the volume, something," Bode said.
"If it is a first date, especially if it is someone brand new, I don't think you should have your phone out. It's like having a third person at your dinner or what you're doing and it's like you're not interested in them," Jameson said.
And when you really are interested in someone, Ten Haken says technology shouldn't be the only form of communication.
"There is a time and a place for text messaging, but you still have to remember phone calls, in person visits, even emails are more personal than a text message," Ten Haken said.
And looking ahead, our young adults say technology and dating will only continue to go hand-in-hand in the future.
"I think it is only going to get bigger and bigger, and in a couple years, 90 percent of people are going to say, 'oh I met him online.' That just seem how it's going," Bode said.
And as it continues to grow, it's likely even more unwritten rules of how to navigate the new landscape will emerge.
Eye on KELOLAND