Has social media ever placed you in a compromising situation with a significant other? Do you have a mutual understanding on social media use? Have tweets, checkins, wall or picture posts caused a fight or a misunderstanding in a relationship?
Beyond branding and business uses, social media at its core drives information exchange that helps to build relationships and communities. Information sharing on the open web comes with it’s own set of concerns that extends beyond the self.
When it comes to dating, what are your boundaries? Have you discussed social media openly with your significant other?
Regardless of your social media expertise, here are 4 rules to consider when dealing with social media challenges in your relationship.
4) Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Read/See/Click
If you’re in a relationship where both people “check-in” to locations, post photos on Flickr and Facebook, run a blog or Tumblr, and converse with others openly on Twitter, it’s okay to pay attention and/or refer to them in normal conversation.
Some may think reading what your significant other posts is “creepy” or inappropriate, but think about it this way – if it’s posted, what’s wrong with reading it? Plus, you may get a few ideas for upcoming gifts or surprises for your special someone.
3) Discuss What’s OK and What’s Not
Levels of openness online depends fully on the individual, which is why it’s important to bring up your expectations regarding what’s OK to post or made public – and what should be left out.
A few ideas on what to discuss: Photo tagging, location check-ins, blog posts, tweet content, and anything that references your alias or full name (because it will show up in search engine results!) Consider the privacy of you and your partner and decide what’s best for the long-term. Tip: To keep track of how you’re referenced online, set up a set of Google Alerts for your name or twitter handle, and xxx.
If this is uncomfortable to bring up in an early relationship, consider offering to post photos together. While you’re logged into Facebook, you can easily ask questions about security settings (Hey- who can see these photos?) among any other burning questions you may have.
2) Ask If You’re Concerned
Speak up if you’re not comfortable with the context of a particular Tweet, blog post, Facebook comment or friend request, and let your partner know it’s OK to ask.
Strange post from an ex? Flirty messages on Twitter? Foursquare check-in at a private location? It’s always best to bring it up early so you don’t spend an hour doing Internet research to find out details on “some girl” or “some guy.” Chances are it’s miscommunication, but it’s always best to keep the channels open.
To be proactive on this topic, consider sharing stories about how you met or know certain individuals that you interact with on Twitter or Facebook – this will not only strengthen your relationship by building trust, but you’ll learn a thing or two.
1) Look Good Online
Your social presence should be a reflection of who you are – your personality, interests, intellect and aspirations.
What it shouldn’t do is make you look passive-aggressive, jealous or obsessive about your personal life. Keep in mind that there’s a strong chance that future prospects (and parents, employers) will check out your profiles and past history. It is on the Internet, after all.
For additional and ongoing advice on the topic, check out Facebook and Marriage, a book by real-life counselors and married couple K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky. Or, follow them on Twitter @FB_and_Marriage to get advice and even ask the tough questions.
What are your thoughts on social media and dating? Please post advice you would like to share in the comments.