- 12.08.10 - 3:00PM
- - by
- Daniel D'Addario
A Brief History of Proposing Online, From CafeMom to Gizmodo Crowd-Sourcing
Recently, a man used the "popular Mom community site CafeMom" to propose to his girlfriend, making use of the site's unique "Achievement Awards" function. Working with the site, Scott proposed to his girlfriend Leslie by triggering a new award asking "Will you marry me?" with a picture of the actual ring. Leslie said yes, as the YouTube video the couple made shows.
We found ourselves wondering how else the web can be used for proposing. Thankfully, the love-themed website RomanceStuck.com was there for us with some "Online Proposal Ideas." Some are more labor-intensive than others: dedicated coders are told to "create a website." "A website is a public declaration of your love, so you'll be able to share your proposal with her friends and family." More simple is the option of sending "an eCard that will be delivered to your sweetie at work," though it's not meant to be as impersonal as every e-card has ever been in history: "Be at they're (sic) office waiting to surprise them after they've received the card." Postcards.org has a slew of proposal e-cards if Someecards doesn't fit the mood. In one, a constellation becomes a wedding ring! It's certainly something.
Some ideas do seem offensively impersonal, though: "Send a wireless email asking your sweetie to marry you. Again, make sure you're together when they receive it" – if you're together anyhow, why not just pop the question? (Other ideas along these lines are "propose via e-mail or instant message" and "create your proposal on your webcam.") The best online proposals should incorporate some creativity, some acknowledgment that this is being done online because the bride-to-be loves some corner of the internet – like CafeMom Leslie.
According to Wikipedia's "Online proposal" entry, the first notable online proposal happened in 1999, when artist Mike Krahulik posted a proposal in his comic, Penny Arcade. (Acknowledging that he was "ripping off Penny Arcade," cartoonist Eric Burns proposed to his collaborator Wednesday White in a 2007 edition of Websnark.)
And a Google employee held a sign proposing to his girlfriend Leslie in a Google Street View photograph of Mountain View, California – though perhaps something personal is lost, as his face is blurred.
Like this Google employee, Justin Johnson of Next New Networks had a tech-y and personal proposal idea for his girlfriend, and worked with Tumblr to hijack each user's "dashboard" with a proposal video (screenshot here) of their years together ("I'm glad all that filming didn't freak you out," he says in the video.)
Similarly, this past October, Sean, a Gizmodo reader crowd-sourced to the site's readership a video of strangers proposing – one does so by iPad, and another holds out a ring on Wolverine claws. (Katie said yes, perhaps swayed by the marching band chanting to her, organized by one particularly devoted Gizmodo reader.)
Perhaps this is the most personal way one can propose in 2010 – every groom-to-be wants to believe his proposal sits at the center of everyone else in the vicinity's universe for at least a moment (witness all the proposals at sporting events, or in crowded restaurants, or on TV). If the proposer can't interfere with others' real-life experiences (Sean looks absolutely terrified, charmingly so, in his proposal video), he can at least bring his virtual community in on the fun. A proposal is not a private act – it makes changes in the real lives of Seans and Katies, real lives that, duh, take place more and more online.
That said, prospective grooms should avoid WillYouMarryMe.com, a website that has existed since 1997 but is somehow still under construction. It promises to help you "propose online with your very own proposal image that is made up of all the great information that you think is necessary." What's most necessary is a personal touch – a favorite website is the new "favorite steakhouse" as proposal venue. Online proposals aren't better just by virtue of their being online; it's that they take into account real people's internet habits that make them worthwhile.
- related:// More Proposals on Urlesque
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