Is Social Media Ruining Our Relationships?
I've been twirting (is there a better word for Twitter flirting?) with this guy for a couple of months now. I know him from work; we're friends with good chemistry. It's a lot of fun, and the tweets have delicious sexual tension undertones, but nothing too overt or explicit. He has a girlfriend who I've met a couple of times, though, and I would imagine she's seen his replies to me. It struck me that she could possibly ask to follow me (my tweets are locked). If this were to happen, what should I do? I guess I could go back and delete the tweets, though that would look suspicious. Or I could not accept her follower request, which may also look suspicious. Thoughts?
There's no good name for Twitter flirting
that I've heard of, but every other word possible is better than
calling it "twirting," except perhaps "The David Copperfield." (Don't Google that,
Mom.) I wouldn't worry too much about it, Tweetheart. Twitter flirting
is relatively harmless,
especially if your account is set to private, and it would take a lot
of effort on her part to scroll back through the history of her
boyfriend's and your tweets to find incriminating twevidence.
It's up to
you, of course, whether to accept her follow if it comes up, but if you
do, then you can most likely kiss those delicious sexual undertones
goodbye, if that makes a difference.
Your question raises another issue I've been pondering lately
about how social media influences our relationships, which OkCupid
conveniently brought up yesterday in its geektastic data blog, OkTrends. It found that people who use Twitter every day evidently have shorter relationships.
the chart, OkCupid staffers write: "Frequent tweeters have shorter
real-life relationships than everyone else, probably via some bit.ly
hack." (Ed's note: I assure you, gentlemen, it's not the size of your
URL that counts.) "Unfortunately, we have no way to tell who's dumping
who here; whether the twitterati are more annoying or just more flighty
than everyone else."
A 5 to 10 percent decrease in relationship length isn't terribly
shocking, but as Christian Rudder, the site's cofounder and editorial
director said on The Daily Beast. "What that tells us is obvious. People who Tweet live their life in shorter bursts."
OkCupid doesn't take the time to offer explanation or analysis for the graph, which I find
somewhat ironic. Perhaps they thought our A.D.D.-prone minds
would zone out on anything more than a tweetable sound bite.
If it's a contest, though, I'd say Facebook, by virtue of its
size and the sheer volume of personal information we put on it, is by
far the greater relationship ruiner, and not just because a handful of
people have been shot or stabbed due to wayward wall posts.
Jealousy over Twitter flirting did come up in my last
relationship, though, which is kind of funny because the "girl" in
question turned out to be fake (#longstory). At least the experience
inspired my memoir, I Still Love You, Wilford Brimley! Some people claim that Twitter has made their relationships better, as this USA Today commenter attests:
"I met my boyfriend (of going on two years) via Twitter. Twittering
enhances our relationship, because I get to know the gist of his daily
activities -- meeting a friend for coffee, at the office late -- without
having to be that annoying girlfriend who asks where he is all day."
The Internet may be making us dumb, sick, and rude,
but I'd be hard-pressed to believe it's causing demonstrable chasms in
our relationships, unlike MIT psychologist Sherry Turkel, who writes in
her book Alone Together: "We're using inanimate objects to
convince ourselves that even when we're alone, we feel together. And
then when we're with each other ... "