Social media networks allow us not only to keep in touch with old friends and meet new folks whom we might not otherwise encounter offline, but it gives us the opportunity to remain in constant contact with boyfriends and girlfriends…for better or worse. While it may be fun to check out your sweetie’s Facebook pictures or Tweet inside jokes to them throughout the day, there is also the temptation to monitor their online interactions with other women, or to find other information to obsess over (perhaps needlessly). Here are a few tips to consider if you want to ‘follow’ your honey online.
1) Follow…Don’t Cyber Stalk: E-red flags should be addressed with caution and common sense, just as offline ones. However, if you are watching your boo’s every Internet move (i.e. searching their name on Twitter and following every young lady with whom they interact), not only might you find trouble where there is none, your honey probably won’t be very pleased when hit with an accusation about their behavior. It’s one thing to ask about the girl who wrote “Hope to see you this weekend!” on his Facebook wall or to remark that his ex’s “I miss you” tweet was a little surprising and, fine, disrespectful, but it’s another to say “who is @sugarpie47 and why did she direct message you on Twitter, cause I peeped that when I was going through your phone.”
2) Set Boundaries: There are people who flirt in cyberspace all day long with no intention of taking that energy offline. If you are uncomfortable with your man hitting on random girls via Twitter or posting provocative Facebook statuses, let him know. If he pushes back, it doesn’t automatically mean he’s doing some real dirt, but you two will have to discuss this and figure out if it’s something you can negotiate or the sort of behavior that you aren’t willing to deal with. If you trust him enough to allow it, but would rather not see it, then you should perhaps ‘unfollow’ his online actions. If you aren’t okay with it at all, then you need to make that plain and proceed accordingly.
If you or your partner has a blog, you may also need to discuss what you are both okay with in terms of discussing the relationship on your site. Some people don’t mind having their entire romance played out for an audience, while others bristle at even being mentioned as “my lover.” Some folks are extremely private and the idea of using a blog or Facebook to announce their relationship status is simply horrifying to them. Documenting your own life online is fine, but you have to respect your mate’s wishes to be left out.
3) Don’t Be THAT Couple: Tagging a few couples pics and sending some gushy Tweets every now and again is one thing. Using social media as a public diary/scrapbook/chat room to detail every single up and down of your relationship is another. If you are blogging about the romance, then fine…just please be reasonable about what how much you reveal. But there’s nothing like going on Facebook and finding out that one of your friends got cheated on, because she has “WILL DA REAL MEN STAND UP AND STOP BEING UNFAITHFUL TO DA LADIES WHO LUV DEM!” Please…don’t go out like that. And don’t take a picture of every single moment of every single date you go on with captions like “Look at my baby ordering his Extra Value Meal! So sexxay!” Save some of those special moments for yourselves. If your tweets to one another look like they are better suited for a text message conversation…they probably are. Remember: social media comes with an audience. Are you posting things people need and/or want to see?