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Reflecting on the Manti Te'o saga and the MTV show Catfish, The Root's contributing editor Demetria L. Lucas points out in a piece for Essence that the online world is a great place to meet people, but it's not actually where you date. 

… The farces perpetuated on Te'o and on Catfish speak to every fear anyone's ever had about online dating, and they're outlandish enough to make anyone give up the practice. But not so fast. These worst-case scenarios easily could have been avoided if the love-seekers, often lonely folk with their own secrets whose desire to be loved allows them to suspend common sense, had employed an important but oft-overlooked method of online dating.

The term "online dating" is a bit of a misnomer. Online is a great place to meet people, but it's not where you date. You make a connection on whatever social media or dating site you're visiting, and then you should quickly take your correspondence to a phone call — not a text — to feel out your interest further. If all seems well, it's time to meet face-to-face, or at the very least, on Skype. If neither is an option, then it's time to give well-wishes to your phone pal. It's just too risky to emotionally invest when you're not sure of whom you're investing in, and the only practical way to avoid being bamboozled like Te'o …

Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire piece at Essence.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.