New technology impacts existing jobs. This was the complaint of the Luddites who resented the introduction of new machinery that deprecated jobs in the making of fabrics. It’s also the complaint of traditional matchmakers in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Gazette reports that social media and websites are popping up in the Kingdom that do away with the need for matchmakers. Online interactions allow people — at a physical remove — to meet and assess each other. By not having to be in physical proximity, couples avoid social and religious issues.
Of course, like any other online interaction carries the possibility of fraud. This is what the matchmakers are seizing on in the hope of retaining their continued existence. I fear, though, like the buggy whip makers of the late 19th C., their days are numbered.
RIYADH — Traditional matchmakers in the Kingdom face tough competition from blossoming marriage services on online social networks.
More than 200 Twitter sites and dozens of other forums on the Internet offer services for Saudi men and women seeking spouses, angering matchmakers like Um Sami who sees it as “organized prostitution.”
“Social networks undermine our work and everything they offer is virtual: they use nicknames and they are not reliable,” said Um Sami, an elderly woman and well-established matchmaker from Jeddah.
For her, many of these websites are “fraudulent.”