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Thursday, December 29, 2011

It’s not official until it’s “Facebook Official”

A phrase now coined, “Facebook Official” is essentially, (in the social world) the closest way to getting your friendship, relationship, new job, etc “authenticated,” “validated,” or “accepted” within your social community. People use social media to spread information, vent about daily problems, discuss personal issues, and to share information about relationships– it’s basically like having your own personal PR team to update your family and friends that’s available at anytime.

Celebrities are actually utilizing Twitter as a source for PR [or as I call it-- reputation damage control]. We all remember when 24 year-old Amanda Bynes announced her “official retirement” on Twitter, and Lindsay Lohan’s announcement [aka: drunk tweet] about a failed drug test. In this first post of the three part series, I will discuss the use of non-celebrity folks’ Social Media in intimately romantic relationships and how the rise of it has evolved within the rules within such partnerships.Since the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media channels have literally changed our lives and forever altered the way in which we are choosing to interact with people entirely– the game has changed and so have the rules.

Social Media and Fidelity

People have been infidels since the dawn of time and Social Media hasn’t changed that. What it has changed is the speed at which people find things out. Because Social Media allows you to know where Sally-Sue’s new shoes were purchased, you also have access to any and all of her information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Facebook is now the specified cause in 1 in every 5 US divorce cases. Additionally, 80% of divorce lawyers claim that the rising use of social media has paved the way for infidelity and extramarital contact.

But how does a significant other know if their spouse is cheating? Should you look through their Inbox and chat log on Facebook?

What is considered “cheating?”

A wise man once told me, “just because you’re on a diet, doesn’t mean you can’t read the menu.” In other words — “look but no touchies.” This used to be true, but now that we have moved online, the rules have changed. Yes, I’m about to say the most common woman cliche, but it’s so true– just because you physically haven’t cheated, doesn’t mean you haven’t emotionally cheated. But, is there a proper “relationship etiquette” on Social Media?

Social Media and Relationship Etiquette

There is a type of etiquette on Social Media when in a relationship, in my opinion. You need to respect the person your significant other and their right to privacy. Which leads to: Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries. Set them with your partner and keep them. Create limits for yourself. Do not let yourself talk intimately with someone else or for long periods of time. Talk about all of the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and, how’s of everything. Who you can/can’t talk to, what information you want to share, and how you want to display it. A lot of this sounds obvious, but in the world of social media boundaries get easily blurred! Be transparent with your partner. Let them know if/when something happens and be open about your all activity on your profiles.

Social Media and Damage Control: Your Ex

For that relationship that doesn’t make it– how do you handle the breakup online? Do you delete the pictures? How long should you wait before putting up the single status? I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there: breakup’s suck and are complicated by the online socialsphere. You log onto your Facebook and see pictures of your ex, and look at his facebook, and he’s flirting with the chick down the hall. GREAT.

Just “unfriend” him/her– or even block them if it’s necessary. It’s the best way to make a clean break, I know from experience. [Obviously after you’ve changed that status to single].
Change your relationship status right away or as soon as you feel comfortable doing so– or, you can just remove it all together. Many people choose the latter (myself, included), just for simplicity purposes.

Deleting pictures: That’s really a personal choice, but think carefully. You may regret it! Regardless of how much you HATE the thought of your ex, in 5 years, when you’re not as mad– you’ll definately want to see how great you looked in your bathing suit on that vacation in 2005. There are also ways to download all your pictures to a platform like Snapfish, if you want to get delete them public eye, consider downloading them first.

Social Media has basically altered every part of our lives– even how we interact within our intimate relationships. I don’t think Social Media is responsible for the demise of American marriages… but I do think it has the capabilities to become such if you make it that way. Social Media and Relationships: Proceed with caution.

From the home to the workplace…

In part 2 of this series I will go into Social Media and the Workplace. How has social media helped (and complicated) office life?

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