I was going through some emails today and came across a couple of emails from a few followers asking what are my thoughts on the importance of showcasing your relationship on social media. I think in light of it being Valentine’s Day weekend, the desire for showcasing love online is at an all-time high, so I’ll take a moment and drop my two cents on the topic.
Let me start off by saying there’s no denying the impact social media has on our lives. According to Statista it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social media users around the globe in 2019. Which means just about anyone from your 10-year-old cousin to your 75-year-old grandma is using a social media platform. Our online personas have become a legitimate facet of our social lives and we update each other 24/7 on what we eat, where we hang out, what music we’re listening too, etc. Nothing is sacred anymore. Having said that trying to weigh in whether to go public with your relationship status is …well…. “It’s Complicated” (Facebook pun intended).
Every relationship has its defining moments. There’s the first date, the first kiss, the first time you meet his/her parents…and, of course, there’s the all-important day when you click “accept” and broadcast your budding romance to the world: congratulations, your relationship is now Facebook official.
The prevalence of social media in our lives has made going public with a relationship a factor of how committed a relationship is in the eyes of most females ages 13 and up. I know women of all ages that feel a “relationship isn’t real” until it’s displayed on social media. The notion is that unless there’s something to hide there’s no reason to not include your significant other in updates, tags, and images of your time together so family, friends, co-workers, and old friends from high school can see it.
However, for every person who preaches the importance of being social media official there’s another who thinks it’s all a little overblown and proves nothing. Take my friend Michelle, 32, for example. “I know of people who were in a relationship on Facebook, but cheating on their significant other consistently. The status/posts was clearly just for show.” She says, ” A Facebook status or storyline on Instagram won’t make your bond any stronger. If anything, it only proves you need validation from others about your relationship status.” Now both schools of thought bring upon valid arguments, however a third consideration comes into play that is rarely discussed, the privacy issue.
Privacy has always been a cause for concern with social media. Of all the personal information that platforms like Facebook allow us to broadcast to the world, the ups and downs of your love life are among the most personal in my opinion. And many people just aren’t comfortable with sharing their relationships in such a public forum. I am one of those people. I’m a private person so I choose not to list my status at all, I never have and there’s a possibility that I never will. The way I see it I have 12,000 followers on Instagram, yet I only discuss my relationship with less than 10 of those people. So if I wouldn’t normally share this information with that many people offline why should I do it online?”
If you do choose to put your relationship online, it will naturally draw more attention to it from others both on and offline. I know of a couple that had a very public social media relationship, so public in fact that their entire relationship was documented on YouTube. When times were good this created a host of memories for this couple to relive and even boosted their follower count. However, when things took a turn and the relationship ended the same followers that supported this documentation of their love took it personally when the relationship was done and demanded updates on the break-up for up to a year after the relationship was over. All of this was happening while also answering questions about how this great love ended with close friends and family, and it made the break-up that much harder for both parties.
Now I realize this is an extreme example and probably not likely the experience most of us will have, but even if you aren’t a social media influencer you will still face questions from co-workers, acquaintances, 5th removed cousins, and your great aunt Debra (or whoever you have as followers to your account) when you suddenly aren’t posting pics of you and your man anymore, or worse if you delete them. And Heaven help you if you do actually use the relationship status button on Facebook and have to go back to “single” because the moment you do, your inbox and comments will be flooded. Why? Because people are nosey and social media has made us expect to have the right to know full details about each other’s lives. So just think – while you may be deep in love with your dude, do you really want to answer questions about your love life to that span of an audience?
There are many opinions out there, but truly there is no “right” course of action. When it comes to posting your relationship online, the best course of action is to treat it like you would any other personal information you post online. If you want the world to know it? Share it. If you don’t, keep it to yourself – end of story. I think either way you choose to handle it there are pros and cons to each decision.
So what’s your take on going Social Media Official? Are you for or Against it? Share your thoughts below.