Filed under: blogs,Holiday — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:13 am
Well, it’s November 3. Are you, or have you ever been ditched by, a Halloweenie? Cindy Chupack once coined the term in order to designate (if BG recalls directly) folks who break up with their partners by October 31 in order to avoid (a) awkward family Thanksgiving dinners, and/or (b) buying gifts. (All while giving yourself plenty of time to find someone to smooch at New Year’s.) Boo!
But according to new (and highly imperfect, but still entertaining) data from Facebook (via Mashable), just because you made it through Halloween doesn’t mean you’re set for 2011. David McCandless and co.:
…scraped 10,000 status updates for the phrases “break up” and “broken up,” and made the following discoveries: 1). A ton of people break up before social occasions like Spring Break and the summer, 2). Mondays aren’t just the start of the work week — there’re the end of many a relationship, 3). People have the decency not to dump their significant others on Christmas Day.
Yah, but look at the graphic. While you’re safe on December 25, breakups appear to peak in the couple of weeks before, matching pre-spring break levels. If this is even somewhat accurate, I’m betting it’s not just about saving money on loot. It’s about the holidays feeling all cozy and meaningful and stuff. If you don’t feel cozy and meaningful with your S.O., you’re not going to look at them and feel all mistletoetastic. Forces the issue, in a way. You know? Fa la! What about you: any breakups precipitated by calendar events? (Or have you ever stayed together for the present, if you will?)
Filed under: blogs,media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:27 am
We all know that Facebook offers up-to-the-minute tracking of your (and everyone’s) relationship status. But could Facebook actually predict your breakup (and etc.) before it happens? It’s not psychic; nor, as science goes, is it rocket: remember, Facebook knows how and with whom you spend (or don’t spend) your virtual time. As the blog AllFacebook reports:
It’s an inside half-truth that many friends of Mark Zuckerberg have told me over the years: Facebook knows when a relationship is about to end. My response was to always ask more questions as it actually sounded like a legitimate possibility. In David Kirkpatrick’s soon to be released book, “The Facebook Effect“, Kirkpatrick confirms that relationship patterns were something that Mark Zuckerberg often toyed with.
In the book, Kirkpatrick writes:
As the service’s engineers built more and more tools that could uncover such insights, Zuckerberg sometimes amused himself by conducting experiments. For instance, he concluded that by examining friend relationships and communications patterns he could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.
Are you busy chatting with another girl instead of your girlfriend? Are you being tagged in a lot of photos with the same person? Facebook has a lot of information about who you are viewing regularly (or lusting over) as well as what your communication patterns are. While the company is not actively charting most users’ communication patterns for determining the future of your relationship, they are actively monitoring your behavior on the site to determine what should be displayed in the feed.
Of course, 33 percent, while impressive, is not scary accurate. And there’s a wide margin of error. Depending on how you use Facebook, for example, your lovah’s profile might be the one you look at least, given that you, you know, see them. (In fact, at least one expert says partners shouldn’t be “friends” in the first place. (“It’s a terrible idea for spouses to be Facebook friends with each other,” saysIan Kerner, Ph.D., co-author, with Heidi Raykeil, of [best self-help title EVER!] Love in the Time of Colic: The New Parents’ Guide to Getting It On Again. “Relationships are already filled with enough banality. I want to preserve what little mystery there is, which means I don’t need to see my wife’s latest check-in with her third-grade pals on her Superwall.”)
That said — though BG eschews unexamined anti-FB or “technology is eeevil” pile-on — we do know that, given its endless started-out-innocent opps for flirting and reconnecting with the one(s) who got away, Facebook can also = Homewreck. So it’s not like Facebook would need to uncrumple the receipts on your dresser to know what’s up.
And so, AllFacebook wonders, could there be an app for this?
Could you imagine using the site and then receiving a notification that the system has automatically determined that your relationship could be on thin ice? While it may provide useful to know, it would be extremely creepy to find out. For now, I wouldn’t expect to see any “relationship strength tool” integrated into the site, but it’s definitely interesting to know that it’s potentially something Facebook could project. Would you want to know how strong your relationship is based on your own Facebook behavior?
But here’s the real question:
Don’t you probably already know how strong it is without Facebook telling you?
Activities: Standing in a department store trying on school uniforms. Being adjusted in said uniform by my mother. Witnessing my first public fight as another mother yells at her son.
Quotations: From yelling mother – “Pants don’t fit you. You’re too fat. You should stop eating. Why can’t you be more like the other kids? My life is hard enough without having to come home and deal with your sorry %*@!
Status: I watch furtively, and then hide behind my mother. A silent thank you to the powers that be. My mother says something to the woman about being in public and embarrassing her child. The woman scoffs.
“Hey, you guys know we can still see this right …?”
Apparently, couples DO know their fights are being observed, and like the mother yelling in the store, they don’t care. In fact, as the Times article notes, some of them welcome the chance to publicly air their grievances for friends and family to see.
Michael Vincent Miller, psychologist and author of the book “Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of Love in an Age of Disillusion” notes:
Today, popular representations of marriage tend toward “two very self-protective egos at war with one another,”…“each wanting vindication and to be right by showing that the other is wrong.”
The thing is, isn’t marriage about two individuals coming together as a couple? By using Facebook and other social media to gain “support” for their respective “sides” in an argument or disagreement, it feels more like they are keeping separate counsel and setting up camps to do battle. Additionally, when you ask your friends and family to constantly choose sides and what they see most is your Facebook status rather than your faces at the dinner table, that support each person is looking for individually can quickly turn into disapproval for the couple as a whole. [Plus: “Tacky!” — BG]
“People tend to do better in their marriage when friends and family are supportive,” Mr. Wilcox said. “When that support dries up, that can be a really big problem.”
Additionally, in an era rife with passive aggressive forms of communication, from sites that allow you to anonymously tell your friends and family what you really think to others that allow you to virtually “slap” someone, one has to wonder exactly where we’re going. Are we really evolving as thinking and feeling human beings or is technology slowly unraveling us? Have we become a society where we are more comfortable interfacing virtually with our partners rather than speaking with them when they are sitting in front of us? Just as importantly, will couples venting their frustrations with each other in the new public spaces, as parents, do the same to their children? Will anyone say anything?
The accompanying photo was particularly powerful as one of the couples sits together on the couch, their faces aglow, not with love, but lit from the screens of their laptops. While the Victorian ideals of marriage are thankfully passé, the openness that modern couples should be striving for is openness with each other, not the World Wide Web.
Oh noes! Flirty messages from old flames are troubling enough to current spouses, but for some married people, the temptation of having all your old flames just a click away may be too much. Divorce attorneys are reporting now that at least 1 in 5 divorce petitions cite Facebook as proof of an affair or inappropriate behavior.
We get emails from people worried about IM and text messages from exes, which certainly isn’t new, so as easy as Facebook makes it to reconnect with old flames, it’s no surprise that those inclined to stray are finding it easier to do so with more people, more often.
“The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to,” says Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online, in the Telegraph UK article reporting these findings.
Some cheaters are flaunting their misbehavior, and even informing their jilted spouse of their impending divorce by updating their relationship status.
While I believe that it’s possible to be platonic, mutually respectful friends with exes, I can also empathize with those who really kinda hate Facebook. Hate how ghosts of nightmares past seem to come back from the grave complete with slutty profile picture and a comment for everything that’s said and done, and how “it’s just Facebook, it doesn’t matter” starts to sound pretty weak when every word has an audience of hundreds or thousands.
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:15 am
“Muffy is no longer in a relationship with Biff.” It’s the Facebook news feed from hell! On the one hand, it’s an easy way to tell all your friends. On the other, it’s an easy way to tell all your “friends.” And to get one million “What happened?!” messages that you really, really don’t feel like answering.
Wired magazine to the rescue! From this month’s issue: “Next time you split, in the ‘News Feed and Mini-Feed’ section of your profile settings, change ‘In a Relationship’ to the default ‘Select Status.’ But there’s a hitch [or not]: Your ex’s Mini-Feed will display an update in their relationship status, tipping off the gossip hounds…. You have no choice but to ask your former boo to delete it, ASAP.” Sigh. Remember when all it took to finalize a breakup was a really long and drawn-out and painful conversation?
Remember when breaking up with someone over the phone was scandalous? (What, you couldn’t be bothered to jump in your horseless carriage and look your ex-to-be in the eye?) Now, Jezebel flags the inevitable: not just breakups, but full-on divorces, celebrity* and civilian**, announced — for the first time, to the divorce-ee — via Twitter. Mercifully concise, I guess, but #tacky! “Please,” writes Sadie Stein, “don’t let this become a thing.”
Hear, hear. Though actually, for legal purposes, tweeting’s too concise. Quoth a lawyer at Divorce Saloon: “To say that you ‘twittered’ your intentions to divorce your spouse to your followers on Twitter and that that is somehow enough ‘notice’ of a pending divorce action? That that would be tantamount to ‘personal service’ as required by statute? I don’t think the day will ever come.”
All of that said, while I’m all for every discussion about maintaining civility in the bluish glow of technology, I want to say this for the record: our little beeping and blooping machines have brought far more friends, lovers, and allies together than they have torn asunder. Tweet on!
* “In the past few months, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy and Eva Longoria all replaced the time-tested PR statement with a tweet. Maybe they feel like their fans deserve to hear it from them.”
** “Apparently one guy did this…without consulting the wife he was divorcing, writing ‘My wife has left me, I wasn’t good enough, isn’t that a shame’ before she’d had a chance to tell her friends or family.”
(via Jess3 blog)– New plugin The Ex-blocker, designed by the Jess 3 agency, gives jilted lovers the opportunity to create a Spotless Mind, or at least a spotless internet environment, free from any triggering exposure to their exes.
The app, which works with Chrome and Firefox, can not only remove your ex’s name from Twitter and Facebook, but from the entire intertubez if you so desire.
Would you break up over Facebook? Like, not by message, or by chat, or by going out to harvest Farmville artichokes and not coming back — but simply by changing your relationship status from “in a relationship” to “single”? Well, YOU wouldn’t, of course, but that guy/girl might: As Mashable.com reports, “a recent poll shows that one out of four newly dumped Facebook users found out about the breakup by seeing it publicly broadcast on Facebook. Ouch!” According to other survey data (1000 people, 70/30 men/women) from AreYouInterested:
— Around 21% of respondents said they would carry out a Facebook breakup by changing their status to single.
— Nearly 40% of respondents have updated their status on Facebook so the person they’re dating sees they have plans.
— And almost 35% of respondents have used their Facebook status to make someone think they have plans, even if they don’t.
The second two of the above sound mad manipulative, but — while I’m not applauding either — they’re not that different from what we did when had phones (get this) ONLY IN OUR HOMES and we could make people think we were NOT THERE by simply not answering. Haw! But the Facebook breakup? Of course this isn’t the first BG has heard of such a thing, and it is pretty much inevitable. (As one Mashable commenter noted, “Since a relationship isn’t official until it’s posted to Facebook, it must only be fair that a relationship isn’t officially over until it too is posted on Facebook.”) But PEOPLE. It’s pretty much the new-tech equivalent of breaking up by outgoing message. (“If this is Stan, it’s over. Everyone else, please wait for the tone.”) TACKY.
What do you think? Are electronic breakups of any kind ever acceptable? When might there be an ethical difference among Facebook breakups, text breakups, Second Life breakups? Think about it: Why, really, is an IM breakup, which seems despicable, that much worse than a phone breakup, say (which BG defends under certain circumstances, e.g. to prevent someone travelling across the country to see you only to have you say “See ya”)? Let us know in the comments.