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February 24

xoxosms

Filed under: media,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:42 am

These days, the stories we hear about kidz and the technology are often cautionary tales: strangers! sexting! TEXT NECK! But Nancy Schwartzman — producer and director of the in-the-works film xoxosms — wants to tell a different, more salutary tale:  about  (young) people forging relationships that may start as virtual, but are very, very real.

“xoxosms is about first love, long distance and Skype. It looks closely at one young couple who — like many — met online and fell in love before ever meeting each other,” says Schwartzman. “There’s a tension between their ‘digital intimacy’ and real life, and the film explores the way the digital world, full of intimacy, bonding, sweetness, is a way to mitigate the hard stuff of growing up and having sex. A way to be close without things getting too confusing.”

The documentary tells the true love story of Gus and Jiyun — a home schooled 19-year-old from a religious family in small-town Illinois and a 19-year-old Korea-born New York City art student — who met nearly a year ago in possibly the only place two people so different might ever find each other: The Internet. Over the past 18 months, they have built an intensely intimate world via Skype, AIM and iChat. They are each other’s very first loves, and through the Internet, they have established a connection that feels as real as if they were right there beside each other.

Help xoxosms have a happy ending! You can kick in a few bucks here to help Schwartzman & co. complete their project. (They’re already over halfway there, with 19 days to go!) You can share your story at their Tumblr, “Without the Internet We Never Would Have Met.” And you can watch the trailer, oh, right now!

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December 16

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.”

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November 3

Facebook data: spring breakup?

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?)

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July 27

How Not To Congratulate Your Ex On Her Wedding Day

Filed under: pop culture,Treats — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:19 pm

I wasn’t going to say anything. I just wasn’t. ‘Cause, well, you know that thing about not having anything nice — that. Fortunately, the supercool Lizzie Skurnick has stepped in where I clammed up, offering this astute, not-even-not-nice takedown of one man’s ode to the one who got away. Not that odes are never in order, and his is nothing if not heartfelt. But, well — oh, just hurry up and get to the awesome.

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June 22

Relationship status: Gutless

Filed under: media,Psychology — 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.

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May 18

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?

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April 19

It’s not you, it’s my avatar

Filed under: Advice,Comedy,media,pop culture,Psychology — posted by Mia @ 1:10 pm

If only everyone on Twitter followed Nerve’s Nine Essentials of Twitter Etiquette! (Twitiquette?) Hilarious and helpful. My favorite:

Ask yourself if you’re tweeting something out of love, or to be loved.

While you’re there, check out the cautionary Five Ways I’ve Sabotaged My Relationships With Technology. It rings skeerily familiar for a rampant, heretofore unrepentant texter/emailer/chatter like me. Yikes!

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April 1

Schminner and a schmovie

Filed under: pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:30 am

What if BG’s The Big To Do was an iPhone app? It’s a herd, it’s a plan … it’s Super Dates, a brand-new partly crowd-sourced activity-idea generator for social iButterflies like your bad self. Basically: “Super Dates puts more than 350 unique, high quality date ideas at your fingertips — a number that grows with each update. Ideas are rated and reviewed by users, with the best percolating to the top. Our recommendation system compares your ratings with those of other users to help you find the best ideas that match your interests and situation in life, whether single or married, young or old. All ideas are categorized, fully searchable by title and description, and available even when you don’t have a connection to the Internet.” Ideas include “Public Transit Dice Roll,” wherein you roll a die to decide how many stops you’re going to ride, and then get off and find a restaurant wherever you land. Of course, that would work only in certain cities, and even then could result in a triangular tuna sandwich box from a hospital vending machine, but you get the idea!

Meanwhile, a new website takes a similar activity-based approach (does this micro-trend mean that you guys have SO MANY DATES that you’re plum OUT OF IDEAS?): How About We has you start with the idea (“How about we…sip tea and slurp noodles?”), and then find a date who’s up for that. It’s like niche-based Internet dating, but without limiting yourself to one niche. For now, it’s still in beta, and New York only, but it costs only a bit more than an iPhone app (and its single employees pay, too!). Founded by two dudes who used to teach high school, How About We’s goal is to “put the date back in dating.” Love it.

Try them both out and let us know how they go! (“How about we … order Thai and read ALL of BG’s comic adventures?”)

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March 23

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.

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March 21

Facebook face-offs

Filed under: media,Psychology — 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.

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