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June 17, 2011

Does Facebook hurt relationships?

Filed under: News — posted by Chris @ 8:36 am

From All Facebook:

Last year, more Facebook users changed their status to single than in a relationship — 24 percent versus 31 percent.

That juicy tidbit counts among many that lie in this infographic on how Facebook affects our relationships, rendered by our friends at Online Dating University.

Only three out of every five users show their relationship statuses at all, and such listings appear more frequently among Facebookers in the U.S., South Africa, Iceland, the U.K. and Canada.

Facebook and Relationships
Collaboration between All Facebook and Online Dating University

December 16, 2010

I want a divorce #tacky

Filed under: Celebrities, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:31 am

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.”

November 3, 2010

Facebook data: spring breakup?

Filed under: Holiday, blogs — 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?)

October 25, 2010

Love in focus

Filed under: Treats — posted by Chris @ 9:16 am

Monday morning treat: cute relationship story that is also a meditation on the photos we leave behind …

Thrush from Gabriel Bisset-Smith on Vimeo.

(I bet Facebook could generate these on these on fly by looking at your relationship status over time, then assembling the properly tagged photos in chronological order. Get on that, Jesse Eisenberg.)

July 13, 2010

Block that Ex!

Filed under: News, media, pop culture — posted by Paula @ 8:49 am

(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.

Is such an obliteration of reality healthy?

Melysha Jane Acharya, author of  The Breakup Workbook: A Common Sense Guide to Getting Over Your Ex opined to BreakupGirl.net: ”The internet can provide an open window into an ex’s life. Choosing to use this app means you’re making an active choice to get over your former love and move forward with your life.”

Sounds good to us. We may apply it to certain other popular terms we need a break from: “vuvuzela,” “Lindsay Lohan,” “Post-T-Vac,” etc.

June 22, 2010

Relationship status: Gutless

Filed under: Psychology, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:40 am

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.

May 18, 2010

Does Facebook know when it’s over?

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,” says Ian 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?

March 23, 2010

Teen girls: more to techno-life than sexting?

Filed under: media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:02 pm

Clearly, the grownups aren’t at all sure what to do about sexting. While legal scholars (rightly) ponder when, whether, and most importantly how to prosecute sexters, one Pennsylvania school/DA threatened kids suspected of sexting with child pornography charges unless they took part in an after-school program which, among other things, required girls to write essays on why their actions were wrong; the goal: to “gain an understanding of what it means to be a girl in today’s society.” Is it shaming in here, or is it just me? To be sure, sexting should be taken seriously (as harassment and abuse). But why do I suspect — perhaps cynically, yes — that this focus on “what it means” will not include a full exploration of the deep cultural factors that appropriate and contain girls’ sexuality and limit their worth and self-expression to “hotness”? (Maybe it will; I hope I’m wrong.)

But as theoreotical counterpoint — and to counter the oft-peddled image of teens doing nothing all day but re-watching Twilight, playing Kill Everyone, and forwarding around naked photos of the French exchange student, I offer this: a reminder of many of the positive and, dare I say, actually empowering, ways that girls use social media.

As eleventh-grader Nadia Tareen — as part of a video series on media issues called Girls Investigate, a joint project of The Women’s Media Center (WMC) and Girls Learn International®, Inc. — writes:

Adults are often too fast to condemn teenagers’ use of technology. We aren’t as “clueless about online threats as some adults believe – Two-thirds of the teens who have created profiles have used privacy controls to limit access to them.” Also, I suspect that my parents and teachers are unaware of everything that my peers and I accomplish online. For example, social media is a great tool for activism. As the leader of my school’s chapter of Girls Learn International®, Inc., I have found that e-mail and Facebook messages are invaluable for organizing and spreading awareness. Teenagers even use social media to make their dreams come true. As an avid YouTube-watcher, I can cite at least a dozen teenagers who posted videos of their musical and comedic talents on the website, to then be discovered by industry professionals. If social media is used intelligently, it can yield endless benefits.

March 21, 2010

Facebook face-offs

Filed under: Psychology, media — posted by Kristine @ 8:41 pm

Age: 9.

City: Detroit, MI

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.

In the New York TimesI Need to Vent. Hello, Facebook, Skyler Hurt, 22, friend and bridesmaid to a feuding couple, likewise, intervened:

“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]

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia would agree.

“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.

January 27, 2010

Valentine’s Day hook, claws

Filed under: Treats, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 12:11 pm

The first press release we got from LeaseTrader.com was mostly just puzzling. The next couple were forgettable, reaching so far for a hook that we’re sure someone injured a rotator cuff. But this one? Notable. Here’s what a fellow recipient had to say about it in an email to BG: “This is a fascinating press release about the many men who face intense pressures from marriage-hungry girls who force them to either change their Facebook status, step up the relationship, or propose on Valentine’s Day, all of which apparently leads to a terrible next-day hangover in which they must give up their sports cars because sports cars are incompatible with the emasculation of commitment to women, and also because there is no room for Ken’s sports car — only the Glamour Camper — in the garage at the Barbie Dream House in 1982, which is the only place where the universe depicted in this press release exists.” Behold:

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is a big date night, but nobody talks about what many men face the day after. With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday, this year the day after could provide one heck of a case of the Mondays. Our company (LeaseTrader.com) was needed to help one guy get rid of his sports car after he and his new fiancée had “the talk,” which got us thinking of other situations men face after Valentine’s Day.

*First Date* – Having your first date on Valentine’s Day is already filled with enough anxiety. The next day some men will face the inevitable talk to change their Facebook status. Men used to worry about the blackbook but now it’s all about the Facebook.

*Next Step* – If you’re already in an exclusive relationship on Valentine’s Day expect the “when are we going to finally live together” talk which means it’s time to take that next step. Her talk with you will include changing the décor of your home or commenting on why you’re still driving that ridiculous sports car?

*Engagement *– Every man who proposes to his girlfriend wants the day to be unforgettable for her. For many men this means a Valentine’s Day proposal. Believe it or not, LeaseTrader.com has helped many men ditch the sports car when their brand new fiancées quickly remind them they’ll now be a family man.

And what should you expect if you’re already married? Perhaps a conversation pointing out you completely forgot about Valentine’s Day.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with a LeaseTrader.com executive about this story let me know.


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Breakup Girl
is the superhero whose domain is LOVE or the lack thereof! Her blog combines new comics, observations and dating news with classic advice letters--now blogified for reader feedback!
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