Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keep your personal stuff private

Tempted to complain about your significant other on social media? Think twice.

Published Wednesday January 18, 2012

By Pamela E. Spencer
The Kansas City Star

"Guess she's better than me. ... plus my cat just died and I'm eating dinner alone, again."

You've seen these status messages before and you think one thing: "Ugh. Too much information."

Please remember, social media is not a diary.

We concede, the rise of social media in our lives in recent years has brought about plenty of good. You can congratulate distant friends on their life accomplishments and milestones in seconds. You can't knock that.

But social media has also brought about a swell of oversharing or what we like to call "bleeding on Twitter (or Facebook)". Unless you've spent the last five years avoiding the Internet, you know what we're saying.

You see the status messages every day, the passive-aggressive updates that no one is supposed to understand but everyone does to some degree because the three previous updates supply you with viable context clues.

Many of us are guilty of this to some degree. It's easy to forget that the thoughts you share on a social network are available to hundreds of your "friends" or followers to dissect. It's a lot easier to type our feelings than verbalize them.

But here's the best advice we can possibly give in relation to social networks and dating: Anytime you want to overshare in regard to your dating life, pretend that you have three "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" lifelines. It's best that you phone a friend. The 50/50 might get you out of trouble, but avoid it, too. Never ask the audience. Nothing good can come of it. And you know what? Your friends don't want to hear it. It's uncomfortable.

Here are five sample status updates you should not share on Facebook in relation to your relationships, romantic or otherwise:

1. "Just went from 'married' to 'single.' Guess I wasn't the best husband. Hope to learn from my mistakes."

What are you thinking about? This is not the type of thing you announce on social media. What are we supposed to say? Are we supposed to "like" this? What comments are you looking for? We hope you remember that all your friends/followers — including co-workers — will be gossiping about you immediately. Maybe even approaching you to see if you're OK. You're purposely begging for attention, aren't you?

2. "Not sure why we stopping being close. Missing you and crying."

Pathetic. If you really want to get your message across to one person (and you really shouldn't have to beg), just send a text or make a phone call.

3. "Cheaters never win. That's why I just smashed his flat screen."

Psycho! The first thing everyone will think: Sorry you got cheated on, but the fallout is between you and your significant other.

4. "Wife and I just had a fight about her communicating with her college boyfriend. I say it's not cool. Am I right?"

Discussing your relationship issues with your most trusted confidants is OK. But I doubt you have hundreds of confidants. If you're having issues and you need to vent, talk to a good friend. But keep the details away from the masses.

5. 'In a relationship.' 'Single.' 'In an open relationship.'

If you're changing you relationship status every other week, it says something about you. You're probably unstable, or at least that's what most of your Facebook friends think. Unless you're engaged, it would probably be best to just leave it off.

Private things should stay private. Get a journal, call a friend or go to therapy, but please stay away from the Internet. Your social network will thank you.



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