The History of Social Media In One Painful Break-Up
Driving through her hometown, my mother fondly recalls high school boyfriends, wondering what became of them. Idyllic reminiscences and sweet reminders fill her head as she hits potholes on the roads of her old neighborhood. She hasn’t bridged the gap and joined Facebook like many other baby boomers so she can reminisce and preserve special memories on her own accord.
I am 26. I have grown up during the age of social networks and over sharing. I joined “The Facebook” when you needed an .edu email address. High school was my first foray toward the dark side with Facebook Messenger’s awkward step-cousin, AOL Instant Messenger.
High school was also where I met my fiancé. I met him via the original swipe right, the passing of a note on an actual piece of paper before my cross-country practice and his soccer began. My Nokia brick phone did not have apps, or text messaging. In fact, I wouldn’t have even know the phone number for it if he asked, it was so unused I left it in the car unless I was calling home.
It took an eternity for my dial up to connect in the thirty minutes I was allotted each night. My three siblings and I had a sign up for computer usage, and I wasn’t going to miss my window to enter the screen name that had been passed to me that afternoon on a ripped off piece of loose-leaf. AOL Instant Messenger:
-Hey, what’s up?
-Not much, what’s up with you?
-Not much. So, you got my note?
-Yea, that’s how I got your screen name.
-Cool, so are you going to the dance Friday?
-I’m not sure, are you?
-I was planning on going with a bunch of the soccer guys; maybe I will see you there?
-Yea, you probably will. Well I g2g do hw I will ttyl.
A phone number was given and our infatuation began. There was no declaration of our status on Facebook or a tweet detailing the first time he said he loved me by his car. The year is 2002.
Fast forward. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Instagram. It is now 2012 and a tree doesn’t make a sound in a forest unless it is liked, shared, retweeted, connected, or double tapped.
When we got engaged we waited a week before changing our relationship status on Facebook. I could have grabbed my iPhone to capture the hot pink Easter Egg that held my sparkly diamond perched upon my legs with a white sand beach in the background and shared it all with a Lo-Fi filter. But in this moment whether that girl who sat behind me in 10th grade Chemistry class knew the play by play wasn’t on my list of priorities. We were vacationing on a tropical island and there was life to attend to.
Facebook newsfeed: My fiance changed his relationship status to “single.”
When he broke up with me he waited about a day before proclaiming his single status. Facebook told me what he was unable to. A webpage announced to me he was “single.” My laptop told me the rest of the story. He had his Facebook account passwords saved there from all the times he signed in while sitting next to me when lived our shared life.
Personal messages showed conversations between college friends. 9:17p.m.: Hey I met a girl at business school. She’s about to start a job in San Francisco. I am thinking about moving out there. Do you like the area? A Facebook message tells me what he couldn’t. He was seeing someone. And now I know her name.
Enter Google search which quickly brings me to her LinkedIn profile and all the information I’d ever need to know, just a few clicks away.
Now we are all breaking up in the age of Social Media. I will never have a former flame I can dream up a wonderful life for as a I drive home for Christmas, because Google can just bring me to his new wedding website.
There is no perfect way to get over a break up. Time helps. Putting you first helps. You have to believe that everything happens for a reason, because it does!
For me knowing every detail has helped. Social media has helped.
There are some low moments. Perusing … ok, analyzing every detail about their wedding website the day before my business school midterms may not have been my best move. But I’m glad I did it. It gave me something my breakup didn’t, something a Christmas drive through my hometown didn’t. Perspective.
I’m glad I don’t need to live with the burden of wondering what happened or all of the what-if factors that danced around my head following the initial break up.
Today, I prefer not to know what sheets they have on their registry. This girl is going to delete her cookies and clear her browser history and look towards finding someone whose Google search doesn’t come back with multiple wedding registries attached to their name. Closure.