As a Search Consultant and Marketing Major; of course I'm a BIG fan of Social Media. It's not only a helpful business tool and an interest; but, over the last couple of years has become a way of life for me. So yes, I have accounts, handles, and pages on pretty much every platform out there - some I use more than others, but you get the point. I blog, I tweet, I'm branded. I'm connected to friends I had at 4 and some boyfriends I wish I hadn't really EVER connected with - but, you never know when 'being connected' will come in handy. ;) (1)
But, do you ever think that maybe - at least from a personal perspective - we're OVER-CONNECTED? Through social media, we're able to know far more than we ever have about the goings-on and interactions in others' lives. For people like me, my "friends" can know what I'm up to on nearly an hourly basis. I even "check-in" to the places I go/things I do & see via a program called Foursquare. Tack on all of the comments and interactions from my connections? There's not a lot of mystery to my world.
How much of a big deal is that when it comes to dating? Some could reasonably argue that those interactions give you something to talk about on a date. Sure, maybe - depending on how interactive you are with what's put on your page. But, the normal "How was your day, dear?" or "What did you do today?" questions one would typically ask their significant other? Seems slightly moot because you just say the status of "Best.Day.EVER" an hour ago! And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I've taken note over the last couple of years that most of my friends have had some of their biggest disagreements over Facebook and Myspace. It's a BIG DEAL for some people to not have their 'relationship status' publicized by their significant other. Now personally? My 'Relationship Status' isn't likely to change unless there's a ring on my finger and a new last name that needs explaining. I just don't think it's that big of a deal - my friends know who I'm dating and that's good enough for me. Feelings get hurt when the comments left are generic or better yet? When they're told to leave generic or 'just friends' type comments yet are constantly reading very racy comments left by others. (3) One of my friends laughed at me yesterday when I was working through this subject with her and said, "You know, I'm MARRIED to the guy now and he STILL doesn't leave sweet comments on my page or declarations of love. I just don't care anymore because I have the ring on MY finger so those other flirty girls can suck it." (4)
I'll be honest; I always thought they were nuts. (5) I mean, come ON - it's a SOCIAL MEDIA site, for cripes sake! And for the most part, I still hold true that if you're in a stable relationship with someone? Still shouldn't matter - just have to trust the person you're with has decent judgement and is an honest jane or joe. But, what if you're NOT in a stable or established relationship? What if it's still new or you're just really 'dating' someone and so therefore you DON'T know what to expect or how to read things? I was discussing this with a guy I've been 'getting to know' and he said there should be some sort of ettiquite blog on how to handle this sort of thing and what's ok to do/not do on people's pages. So... I'm going to. Here's a sneak peak as it pertains with how to deal with the stuff you see on your significant other's/person's you're dating page(s):
1) DO recognize you likely don't know the person who made the comment and the nature of their relationship with your person. It might be totally innocent. So... if you have a question? Ask - and then accept the answer and let it go.
2) DO NOT use it as an opportunity to 'mark your territory' back. Comments like "Last night was amazing" or "I love you more than life itself" right after some questionable comment by some other chick/guy? Is completely transparent and is not only going to not mean much to the person you are dating/your S.O - but it SHOULD be embarrassing to you. Rise above, I say...
3) DO NOT start stalking the other people that are leaving your guy/girl comments. It's flat out unbalanced. Now, I totally get the natural curiousity to check them out - and that's probably not going to be a restraining-order level if you only do it ONCE, if you must. But, if you find yourself going 'cyber-spy' on them (6)?? Close the computer, use your 'phone-a-friend' lifeline and get some help.
4) If you can't do/refrain from the above three?? Stop looking at their profile completely - or better yet, find someone else to date that you actually CAN and WILL trust. Because at the end of the day? That's probably what it boils down to, anyway....
(1) By the way, if you're trying to find me on a social media platform? Just try whatever website with the extension /theonecrystal, /the1crystal, or /crystalgmiller - I'm pretty well branded that way :D
(2) Besides, I tend to think you kind of look like a tool when you're in and out of a relationship enough that people start thinking you're a 'Jack-in-the-box.'
(3) Seriously, I remember leaving a conference to help a friend that I thought was going to have a panic attack from how upset she got reading one of them - granted, the chick leaving them was TOTALLY doing it to induce that exact reaction from my friend, but still... wowzers.
(4) That might have been paraphrased; but I think it's funnier this way and is still true to the spirit of the comment. :p
(5) Until a recent experience with it myself that doesn't bear going into because it's a) embarrassing and b) makes it hard for me to pretend like I'm above it all. :p Suffice it to say MY experience was extremely pale compared to some of the stories I've heard and lasted a total of a week or so before I slapped myself back out of the insanity.
(6) Or creating an alter-personna of the opposite gender to stalk them on a more personal level? *cough* Jasper *cough*