By Diamon Hall

Perhaps you reconnected with the girl who used to pinch you on the playground, the professor who inspired you to land your dream job or a long lost distant relative who lives in Germany.  Whatever it may be, websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or MySpace are used in many different creative ways.  In fact, it seems that people can hardly function without social media nowadays.  It helps you keep in touch with family, friends and even people you wouldn’t normally communicate with if it weren’t for those sites.  If social media can help you in the platonic aspects of your life, then it can certainly help your love life, whether that means meeting a new flame or enhancing a relationship you already have.  Here are five ways social media can aid you in matters of the heart:

1. More ways to keep in touch: Just like social media can help you keep in touch with family and friends, it can also help you keep in touch with your mate.  You may not always be able to pick up your phone to call or even shoot a text.  If you’re at work and there’s a computer available, it’s probably easier to log on to a social site like Facebook and chat for a quick minute or send a personal message just to say “I love you.”

Related: 5 Reasons Why Men Text Instead of Call

2. Dig deeper before the first date: If you’re just meeting someone for the first time, social media can greatly assist you in figuring out who this person is and what you can expect.  Although you shouldn’t judge solely on what you read online, the image someone gives off via social media sites can be telling.  Browse through their identifying information, photos, and friend’s comments.  Often times it’s insightful to see how a potential partner interacts with others.

3. Stay close even when distant: You or your honey may have to go out of town without the other sometimes.  You can upload pictures of yourself to let them know what’s occupying your time while they’re not there.  Facebook has even incorporated video chat on their site, which is a great way to seemingly shrink the distance between the two of you.

4. Communicate more with his or her family: Finally, social media is a way around being the shy one at the extended family dinner table.  Your partner’s family is going to want to see you in person sometimes, but for the other times, talk to them via a social site.  They’ll be thrilled to know you think enough of them to include them in your virtual social life.

5. Everyday use: Sometimes you may not have the money to send flowers and candy, or even to go out to dinner.  Your lives may be very hectic and you may hardly get enough time to talk.  Utilizing social media will help you feel connected.

Related: Do’s and Don’ts of Flirtexting and Sexting

How has social media helped your relationship?  Share your experiences below.