The second part of my social media series has to do with the breakup process. What is the appropriate way to handle a divorce on the social scene?
I’ve seen countless status updates to say that individuals have gone from being some form of “coupled” to “single”. Sometimes those updates are accompanied by a personal note to offer more details about the situation or the feelings around the event. I suppose I understand the need for a public announcement. Sometimes it’s easier to say it once on Facebook than having to reiterate the same scenario countless times in person, on the phone or through individual emails.
What about the virtual connection to an ex? Should you unfriend? Unfollow? Unsubscribe? Block? Stalk? Keep an interactive public friendship? Or untag yourself in the photos? Do you need to alter your security settings?
Is it customary to divulge details via status updates? Several years ago, I saw a MySpace status that said “There’s no longer a controlling dickhead attached to my house!” That caused me to pause and think. Is that kind of update appropriate? Is it necessary to publicly degrade the ex in such a manner? Children were present on the author’s Friend List (including her own offspring). Was the remark meant to be seen by the ex? How did the author intend to portray herself by making such a comment? Did her readers view her as fearless and independent? Or petty and bitter?
Have you heard any of the stories about the role social media has played in the divorce process? By now we’ve probably all heard that Facebook is a cited cause of many divorces. But did you know about the blogging father who was ordered to take down his anonymous blog or risk losing custody of his children? Did you see the newscast about the man who was told to publicly apologize or face jail time for the FB comments he made about his ex? What do you think of that?
Personally, I don’t publish my relationship status on Facebook, so there was nothing for me update last November. Since my breakup with Ex-BF, I did unsubscribe from his profile updates (funny, I don’t mind having my ex-husband in my feed). I realize during this time period, it’s natural for me to be under scrutiny. Thus, I’ve gone largely silent on FB. I interact with my real friends in real life or through private messages (I’m sure my non-real friends haven’t noticed the lack of updates on my wall). At times, I’ve been extremely upset by things I’ve heard were said about me, either on the network or in person. The idea of formal punishment for such an offense is a nice fantasy. However, I think we all should have the right to speak our minds (but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone carried the same Standards Of Respectful Behavior?).
I realize I’ve published a considerable amount of information here on the blog. This forum feels quite different for me. For one thing, my personal situation is appropriate to share in this arena- my broken heart isn’t competing for Top News status against pictures of my “friends'” babies. For another, most people I know don’t come here to read what I’ve written. Nor do they subscribe. I started the blog because people I know were sick of hearing me talk about divorce. So I feel pretty safe here. And it’s not like I’m namecalling or sharing extreme details.
So… what do you think? How did/would/will you handle your separation on the social networks? How did your ex handle it? How did/do you feel about it? Any lessons you’ve learned? Any strategies to share? Am I asking too many questions?