Breaking up is hard to do, especially on social media

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 5.06.43 PMBy Christy Ulmet

Jami Dendler and her boyfriend had just broken up. It was the typical “we’ll still be friends” kind of thing, but then she looked and realized he’d deleted her on Facebook. She went on Instagram, and he’d unfollowed her and made his profile private; same thing on twitter. Jami texted him, and his response was “I’m sorry, who is this?”

Basically, he’s deleted Jami from his life, she said.

The digital age has brought breakups to an all new level of drama. It is nearly impossible to go through a breakup quietly with Facebook in the picture, and many Trevecca students and faculty members have taken notice.

Jennifer Neely, coordinator for the sophomore year experience and trained counselor, made some ob-servations about what she’s observed with her friends on Facebook.

“With the relationship status change and passive comments about your ex, everybody knows your business. It helps feed the gossip bug,” Neely said. “Before Facebook, people didn’t know these kinds of things about other people without that person telling them face to face.”

In the age of information sharing, people tell the world what is going on in their lives. Heather Daugherty, director of the center for worship arts and direc-tor for church services, has noticed this when she has scrolled through her news feed.

“Things are much more public now than they used to be, especially break-ups. Social media makes it less awkward to even find out what happened,” Daugherty said. “Before, you used to happen upon the news of a breakup or divorce, but now you find out when somebody drops their new last name or changes their status to single.”

Before Facebook, the status of a relationship wasn’t public, but now keeping that status up to date can be a priority for many. Brett Baumgardner, senior worship arts major, noticed this in his circle of Facebook friends.

“We approach relationships and breakups with the mindset that we must go through social media first. We have made that more important than anything else,” Baumgardner said.

Timothy Crummer, sophomore religion major, noted the drama that comes partly as a result Facebook status changes.

“It seems like it isn’t ever really official until that status becomes Facebook official. When there is a breakup, things get serious when that status goes back to single,” Crummer said.

In its ability to connect people, Facebook has helped small worlds become even smaller, said Amanda Creech, junior dramatic arts major.

“Trevecca is a really small school. Posting pas-sive aggressive statuses and dramatic song lyrics about a relationship ending really does not work here because everybody knows what you’re talking about,” Creech said.

Her advice? Don’t act on impulse on Facebook.

“People don’t think about what they’re saying when they post it on Facebook, and it only makes things more dramatic,” Creech said. “Would you get up on a podium and speak in front of 900 people about how you’re upset that so and so broke up with you? Probably not.”

This story originally appeared in the March 2014 TrevEchoes.

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