Everyone has seen their teenaged younger siblings or younger friends post gratuitous photos with a significant other. The first one is always cute but then there are five more kissing pictures, two skinny girl arm poses, one candid laughing picture (they’re looking deep into each other’s eyes) and of course, the selfie. To make things worse, all of these photos are posted within days of each other. It’s not even the photos that completely push my buttons. It’s the excessive comments, hashtags, captions and likes that come along with them. We get it, you’re in a relationship, you’re “in love” and you want to show the world but when I see that tenth selfie of you and your boyfriend or girlfriend I’m getting ready to press the defriend button. For the sake of this post I am going to call this person the overbearing underage significant other.
Now, let’s go through all the different things that this person does to take their Facebook relationship to the next level.
One, they “like” each other’s photos like there is no tomorrow. Although this is a minor offense compared to the rest of their eye rolling actions there is never a picture, status or post unliked.
Two, they hashtag (which can now be done on Facebook) all of their pictures. “With the #love of my #life eating #icecream in the #park #nothingisbetter #mylifeisgreat” or “Look what my baby got me #bestboyfriendever #iLOVEhim #neverlettinghimgo”…… GUESS WHAT
Lastly, there are the excessive comments on each other’s walls and pictures going back and forth between the two regarding how beautiful or hot or sexy or gorgeous or handsome the other is. This even gets even worse when they’re apart from each other for a long time.
What these kids need to realize is that this stuff needs to stop taking place publicly on Facebook walls. Instead, they need to tiptoe their way into Facebook chat. Nicole Ellison and Danah Boyd, who wrote Sociality through Social Network Sites in The Oxford Handbook of Internet Studies describe their annoying behavior best as an example of “context collapse.” They define it as,
“The ways in which individuals that we know from different social contexts come together in SNSs [Social networking sites] in potentially uncomfortable ways”
Seeing overbearing intimate conversations between friends online is sometimes almost worse than your mom and dad commenting on your wall or on a picture because at least when they do it, you know it’s coming from a parental standpoint and can usually pinpoint the tone they are using. Also let’s be real, unless you have insane parents and don’t know how to use your blocking settings, your parents see limited activity on your profile. When it’s coming from a overbearing obsessed boyfriend or girlfriend though and it’s a comment along the lines of “I HAVE THE HOTTEST BOYFRIEND IN THE WORLDDDD” it’s putting a claim on that picture as well as the person and discouraging anyone else from commenting.
So if you haven’t figured it out, those posts and comments above are all of me and my boyfriend from when I was 16 (who will hopefully not hate my guts after I dug through our old dirt and exposed it to the world). I will admit, if I could time travel back and meet my sixteen-year-old self I would sit her down and give her a good talk about what never to do on social media moving forward. I’m not saying I have it all figured out. I’m only 22 years old and I’ll make my fair share of mistakes, some probably in the next hour or so. But if there is one lesson I have learned, it’s to keep your love life on lockdown when it comes to social media. Your Facebook profile is a representation of who you are and although most of us think we’re following standard Facebook etiquette, the reality is the way you think you’re representing yourself is probably a little different than the reality. Those comments that you wrote on your boyfriend’s Facebook picture freshman year of high school are still there and anyone can see them– your mom, your boss, your current boyfriend. And they can get you in trouble later on. So to all you youngsters out there that are crazy in love and posting it everywhere for anyone to see, just know that everything on Facebook is permanent and it is truly never deleted.
Thanks to my 16 year old self for making this post possible. Cheers to being a typical love drunk teenager.