She stopped dating for a while, until one of her friends told her that “to mend a broken heart is to love again.” She met another man on facebook. But this time, she says she decided to take it slowly with him.
After about three months of facebook communication, they exchanged numbers. She says he called her at least three times a day, checking in on whether she’d had breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“He would even call me to find out whether I need[ed] his help in anything,” she says.
Nkwenti says they communicated by phone for nearly two months before the guy fixed a face-to-face date in 2011.
“He invited me to a bar called Las Vegas,” she says. “I dressed up very well on that day and got to Las Vegas drinking spot. When I got there, I couldn’t find him. I called several times, but his number wasn’t going through.”
She says she noticed a group of boys sitting at a table drinking and laughing as she stood there trying to reach her date on the phone. She suspects her date was among the guys making fun of her, so she never spoke to him online again.
“About a week later, I passed around Las Vegas drinking spot,” she says. “Surprisingly, the name of the bar had changed from Las Vegas to Facebook. Something tells me my story has something to do with the change of name.”
Marceline, who declined to give her last name, became the owner of Facebook bar in 2011.
“I bought Las Vegas bar from its owner and changed its name to Facebook bar,” she says.
Marceline says a group of young men who were regular customers suggested that she name the bar after facebook because it was a leading social network site that every young person wanted to belong to. Naming the bar Facebook would attract young people, they told her.
“Facebook bar became one of the most popular bars in this locality,” she says.
Meanwhile, Nkwenti is staying away from facebook. She says she deactivated her account and never plans to reactivate it again.
The rise of facebook in Cameroon is changing dating practices. While some young women say online boyfriends they’ve found through the new practice of facebook dating are only interested in sexual intercourse, others say it can lead to marriage. Young men, on the other hand, say girls who approach them on facebook are cheap and uninterested in long-term relationships. Psychologists say love can happen online and offline but warn online daters to take their time to get to know their online partners in person before having sexual intercourse with them.
The number of facebook users in Cameroon grew by more than 16 percent during the last six months, with more than 550,000 users currently, according to socialbakers, a social media analytics platform. About 2.85 percent of the country’s population and more than 70 percent of Internet users in Cameroon are on facebook.
Facebook is most