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April 26, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

"Relationships are hard enough. But the rise of social media — where sharing private moments is encouraged, and provocative and confessional postings can help build a following — has created a new source of friction for couples: what is fair game for sharing with the world?" (NYT)
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (51 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, it turns out that you should think about how your words will affect other people before you speak.
posted by jcreigh at 10:45 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Today I learned that you can get around the NYT paywall because the article text is still in the source code of the unremovable popup.

Crackerjack job, NYT.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


...of the page with the unremovable popup, I mean.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2012


Good concept for an article, but some of the people described sound way too touchy.
posted by mrbill at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


the article text is still in the source code of the page with the unremovable popup

I'm told you can also use NYClean. I wouldn't know!
posted by echo target at 10:49 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that you can get around the NYT paywall because the article text is still in the source code of the unremovable popup.
FYI: Chrome's Incognito Mode is apparently also a phasing cloak when it comes to the NYT paywall. Which is to say that the article limit only applies so long as an incognito window is open. Once you close all of them, the cookies for your session disappear, and thus the NYT article count goes away.
posted by delmoi at 10:52 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


from article: Ms. Cash said in an interview that another time she wrote about her husband taking a nap. When he showed up at the studio, the sound engineer was puzzled, since he had just read Ms. Cash’s post online. “I thought you were taking a nap,” the engineer said to him. “John called me and he was really annoyed,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Don’t tell people I’m taking a nap!’”

Yeah, geez! Don't go telling the world that I'm taking a nap! (But if you want to tell a reporter from the New York Times that I was upset about you telling the world that I was having a nap, you should just assume that's fine with me.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


I read this yesterday and couldn't get over the fact that most of these people seem to be incapable of ascertaining how their partners may react to their actions. If you're in a relationship, you should really have figured out not to antagonize the person you're with.
posted by Amplify at 10:53 AM on April 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


When it comes to sharing information about other people, online or off, always err on the side of non-disclosure.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:54 AM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sharing on social media only causes friction if you have a poor relationship or poor communication to begin with.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:55 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm going to ask my wife what she thinks of this as soon as she finishes burying the bodies.
posted by bondcliff at 10:55 AM on April 26, 2012 [21 favorites]


The Times is ON IT!
posted by Legomancer at 10:56 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


You shouldn't post on Facebook about your second round of roof repairs. Not because people will think you're rich and snooty, but because NO ONE CARES.
posted by spitefullerene at 10:58 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah, geez! Don't go telling the world that I'm taking a nap! (But if you want to tell a reporter from the New York Times that I was upset about you telling the world that I was having a nap, you should just assume that's fine with me.)
It sounds like they were interviewed together:
“John called me and he was really annoyed,” [cash] recalled. “He said, ‘Don’t tell people I’m taking a nap!’ ”
Anyway... Is this really a problem for non-celebrities?

What % of the population actually shares this much, and who reads it? It seems like the (non-famous) people who do this are the ones who are desperate for validation that lead an interesting life.

On the other hand, if you were well known I suppose the allure of having people care about everything you say might be intoxicating. After all wanting to be admired and looked at is probably a part of what makes people want to be celebrities.
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on April 26, 2012


So, if I'm reading this new source of friction in relationships correctly, I'm supposed to exercise tact before I make things publicly known about my significant other?


That said, I can see how something on FB can get away from someone. More for work-related things, like tagging my SO in a post when she had called in "sick" and forgetting some co-workers who may have had to stay late because she wasn't there are also her FB friends (Which is also why I refuse all invites from people at work, regardless of how well I currently like them and they like me.)

But for some of the reasons listed in this particular article, a few of the subjects just come across as way too self important. While I may chuckle at a picture of someone in a facial mask, without exception, I'm not going to be thinking about it, or recalling it at any point 5 seconds after I've seen it, unless it's to give them some good natured shit about it, because we're friends like that. Nor do I expect 90% of people who may or may not see something my SO posts to honestly care or even remember who I am. I am quite aware that I'm simply not that important. Something a few of these people in the article should hopefully be aware of.
posted by Debaser626 at 11:01 AM on April 26, 2012


I am glad that both my and my girlfriend's posting habits are discreet. On the other hand, if the dog ever learns to read, grows thumbs and becomes computer-literate, there's going to be hell to pay.
posted by griphus at 11:04 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Get around the paywall by deleting everything to the right of ".html" and reloading the page. Simple as that.
posted by emelenjr at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Interviews with more than a dozen couples suggest that disagreements over how much to share are common.

More than a dozen! Look out, Gallup!
posted by enn at 11:08 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Today I learned that you can get around the NYT paywall because the article text is still in the source code of the unremovable popup.

You can access unlimited NYT articles by deleting everything after "html" in the URL, like so.
posted by John Cohen at 11:10 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone that has this "problem" is either a moron or a teenager.

(No, they're not the same thing. Yes, I know it sometimes seems that way. But no.)
posted by aramaic at 11:15 AM on April 26, 2012


It's hard to believe that only about one-third of this thread has been dedicated to this revolutionary and apparently little-known "paywall" concept.
posted by cribcage at 11:16 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This article made me laugh because about six months ago, I was at the hospital undergoing an outpatient procedure (donating PBSC for a patient in need of a marrow transplant), and near the beginning of the procedure, I closed my eyes, slumped my head over on my shoulder and tried to see if I could get comfortable enough to fall asleep (nope). While this was happening, my husband took a picture, posted it to his Facebook and tagged me in it. Our friends & family immediately started flooding the photo with concerned comments that I looked "miserable" and appeared to be in terrible pain, which I was not. I heard similar comments in the days following the procedure, too, some from people at his work that I didn't even know. We both learned our lesson: my husband learned loud and clear not to post pictures of me on Facebook without my consent and I learned that it would probably be best to confiscate all his personal electronic devices before we go to the hospital to have our baby this summer, just in case.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:17 AM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Twenty years ago, the couple in the photo accompanying that article would have been smoking cigarettes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:18 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine who is a writer told me a long time ago: "never write about your friends. If you write about your friends you will soon discover you no longer have any friends."

For $Random_Metafilter_User posting on facebook or tumblr or blogger it probably doesn't make too much of a difference. If your stuff appears in the pages of the New York Times I would suggest you have got to be crazy to be writing about your friends. Or your family members. And most especially your significant other.
posted by bukvich at 11:26 AM on April 26, 2012


Cripes. Every generation has to reinvent the goddam wheel.

Ambrose Bierce: Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. Ambrose Bierce.
posted by mule98J at 11:26 AM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


While annoying, these people are no match for the parents over at STFU Parents. They raise the art of overshare to a new level.
posted by Leezie at 11:28 AM on April 26, 2012


well, someone has to be reading the posts for it to matter. So blame the usual lurid tabloid sensibilities of the average American.
posted by k5.user at 11:28 AM on April 26, 2012


Griphus: On the other hand, if the dog ever learns to read, grows thumbs and becomes computer-literate, there's going to be hell to pay.
You haven't seen texts from dog ?
posted by k5.user at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The offenses described in this article all seem pretty benign. I would have liked for them to have gone into the more dramatic boundary pushing aspects of Facebook, where people use their Status Updates to reveal often shockingly personal relationship issues that are probably best kept on their side of the keyboard, often in the form of Vaguebooking
posted by The Gooch at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered.
posted by the painkiller at 11:29 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would honestly rather read, "John is taking a nap," quotidian as that is, than "OMG My Husband is the BEST HUBBY EVAR!!"
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I dunno, it seems easy enough to me to make a mistake like this. There are fuzzy boundaries around these things, where people have clear ideas in their own minds about what is and is not appropriate for this stuff, but I expect it's extraordinarily rare for people to articulate those expectations to others.

For example, ever since your mom got on Facebook a lot of people gave effectively gone semi-pro on these sites ---- keep their posts lite and friendly and don't post anything they wouldn't post to their grandma. Someone like that might not hesitate to friend a bunch of professional acquaintances, knowing in their own head that they'd never post anything terribly personal, and then be embarrassed by having a pic of them in a mud mask. Other people might let it all hang out, safe in the knowledge that they only accept requests from close friends, and then find out their partner's co-workers have seen all their schoompy status updates. All those sites require people to juggle public and private masks, and Facebook in particular often makes it difficult for the average user to understand who can see what.
posted by Diablevert at 11:36 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


The offenses described in this article all seem pretty benign. I would have liked for them to have gone into the more dramatic boundary pushing aspects of Facebook, where people use their Status Updates to reveal often shockingly personal relationship issues that are probably best kept on their side of the keyboard, often in the form of Vaguebooking

Yeah, there's a good article here, but this one wasn't it. I'm amazed by some of the thing that people in my wife's friends post about their relationships. I've seen several literal fights between couples take place on Facebook. In comments.

I think that probably most people take the Stephanopolous-Wentworth route. Don't ask, don't read.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:38 AM on April 26, 2012


In my circles, most people don't talk about their relationship at all on Facebook. I don't tell my parents or siblings about my relationship in person too much, either. That shit's too heavy.

I do talk about them behind their backs on my locked down twitter that they don't have access too, though.
posted by spitefullerene at 12:13 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sharing on social media only causes friction if you have a poor relationship or poor communication to begin with.

Ridiculous. Self-publishing personal trivia to the world is still a fairly recent development. The etiquette is still unresolved for everyone.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:43 PM on April 26, 2012


I think the point was that if your relationship has good communication, you can navigate all kinds of unresolved issues without resorting to basically fumbling randomly in the dark all trial-and-error.

Moreover, I don't agree that this is a fundamentally new thing. Maybe we have a larger stage than 20 or 100 years ago, but I don't think the etiquette is unresolved. I think this phenomenon is similar to how people behaved when cell phones first exploded into popularity: The specific behavior might be new, but the relevant principles of etiquette and courtesy aren't.
posted by cribcage at 1:04 PM on April 26, 2012


I don't know if it's comparable, mainly because of scale. Cell phones made it easier to reach a single individual, but the rise of social media websites and smart phones with cameras and Facebook and 24/7 internet access make it possible to reach a lot of people all at once. I was at my husband's school on Tuesday night for their weekly dinner, and someone announced the status of a pregnant classmates labor to everyone in the room. I saw at home later that this specific update ("I'm fully dialated") was not something she had posted to Facebook; apparently she had been e-mailing a small group of friends, one of whom decided (with or without her approval or permission, I don't know) to share the e-mail with 75 other people.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:18 PM on April 26, 2012


My husband I tease each other via Facebook and Twitter, often when we are sitting one room apart, which amuses our friends. We don't say anything we wouldn't say in front of friends at a party.

It doesn't really seem that complicated. But then we don't fight at parties, or try to humiliate each other.

Actually, the sweetest thing he does is retweet all my Twitter jokes, even the lame ones. That's love right there.
posted by emjaybee at 1:32 PM on April 26, 2012


Sorry, I was unclear ("how people behaved"). The cell-phone behaviors I was referring to are things like taking a call while you're sitting at lunch with a friend, or chatting distractedly on your phone while strolling a crowded sidewalk, or talking loudly on your phone in enclosed spaces with other people. When cell phones first exploded, these behaviors were rampant and became a big deal. The specific behaviors might have been new, but the etiquette wasn't "unresolved"; it was just a new application of old principles.

Same thing here. Everybody is on Facebook and Twitter and now suddenly we're supposed to re-examine what's appropriate to share, and I'm not seeing that. For example, when a friend confides in you about a medical condition, you don't repeat it. That's been basic courtesy. Scale isn't relevant, and doesn't change it.

Something that ties into this is a complaint I've read on MetaFilter before: that Facebook is this fake, whitewashed environment where people pretend to lead perfect lives. I don't understand that thinking. It's true that if you examined my Facebook, you'd see positive status updates. But I don't think that is me "pretending to be perfect." I think that if you rewound my life ten years, before Facebook, and transcribed conversations that I had in rooms filled with friends, classmates, coworkers, etc., you would see exactly the same thing: I share good news because I'm happy and proud, and I don't broadcast bad news because it's uncouth.

Medical conditions, money troubles, spousal disagreements—these aren't things you discuss in large public settings. That's old etiquette. I don't understand why anybody would expect it not to apply on Facebook, and then conclude that Facebook is "fake" when it does.
posted by cribcage at 1:57 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!


And now the most annoying way
To do it: via blog.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:24 PM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


The most jarring facebook fight I saw involved a breakup. "How would you like it if I told your friends about the abortion?" She replied "I'm proud of it! I wouldn't want another YOU on earth." She went on to post pictures of his belongings on fire in the yard.

While it was definitely oversharing... The talk-show-watcher in me couldn't look away.
posted by moshjosh at 3:03 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Medical conditions, money troubles, spousal disagreements—these aren't things you discuss in large public settings. That's old etiquette. I don't understand why anybody would expect it not to apply on Facebook, and then conclude that Facebook is "fake" when it does.

You seem to presume not only that Facebook is "a large public setting" but that this fact is know and understood by every user. But the entire site is set up to encourage its users to think of each other as intimates, "friends." moreover, you can have one friend or a thousand, and users have the illusion of control in that; the exponential force of sharing something with friends-of-friends is something it is quite difficult for our little monkey brains to intuit, and the site's set up to discourage you from such thoughts.

You're right that the safest course is always to treat the site as a public setting; but even so there are things that, say a young web developer in Silicon Vally might be entirely comfortable sharing in a public setting ("Awesome new saki bar in the mission! Me and Jen got totally plastered!") that their girlfriend who works at large and stuffy law firm would not. If lawyer girlfriend is taking techie boyfriend to the company Christmas party, it doesn't take much tact for the latter to pick up on the code. But it's pretty damn hard to remember whether or not one of your girlfriend's 900 Facebook friends is also the senior associate she works with.
posted by Diablevert at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


spitefullerene: I do talk about them behind their backs on my locked down twitter that they don't have access too, though.

This is the Twitter use case I don't understand at all. A sincere question: Why don't you use email for this? Who can see your tweets?

(related: How did I get so old that I don't understand the Twitters?)

Congrats, ThePinkSuperhero!
posted by purpleclover at 3:47 PM on April 26, 2012


purpleclover: I meant I talk about my family and siblings behind their back on twitter. My sweetheart(s) and my friends can read it. I don't talk about my romantic relationship(s) much there, but mostly because I would come out looking like the worse party. Because I am made of carbon and spite.
posted by spitefullerene at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2012


I love that when the Times goes to its Man on the Street, it goes to Johnny Cash's daughter's husband.
posted by brina at 5:27 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've seen several literal fights between couples take place on Facebook. In comments.

I see the opposite a lot more often -- couples posting what amount to love letters on one another's walls. Or little "I miss you; I love you" comments.

That's nice and all, but it always makes me wonder who they're trying to convince by making these comments public instead of private. There is, after all, a private message function.
posted by asnider at 5:58 PM on April 26, 2012


I got to watch two acquaintances go through an acrimonious divorce on Facebook. Publicly slagging each other off with various friends being drawn to comment and 'like' the different sides of the argument. Some people have no boundaries with anything and social media is just a way to amplify the drama.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2012


I think most of these stories pale in comparison to some of the dirty laundry I've seen aired on AskMe.
posted by town of cats at 7:46 PM on April 26, 2012


Yeah, but AskMe doesn't have anyone's full real names and exactly how to track them down online so that everyone they know can find out that information.

That's really the thing that bothers me about Facebook. I've had a bunch of public blogs for years that few people read, i don't publicize, and I don't give a shit. A few folks I know IRL know of one or more of them, I don't remember who I've told about which ones and again, I don't really care. Hasn't caused any problems. On the other hand, none of them have my full name and location and a super easy way to track me because Facebook is the new Yellow Pages. And that seems to be where Teh Drama kicks in because suddenly everyone you've ever met in your life can go randomly look you up and harass...er, "friend" you. And judge you. And get into fights on the net with that everyone you know sees. And post pictures of you despite your security settings. And blah, blah blah someone else is always getting you into trouble-cakes. And even worse, you can't delete the stupid thing because more and more, everyone is requiring that you have a damn Facebook, for work purposes if nothing else.

I get bitched at because I haven't logged into Facebook for over a year--not even to check the birthday messages on the wall. However, it sure as hell seems like I have less drama to deal with if I don't participate in the stupid thing. I wish I could kill it, but see above.

And really, that's where the problem is: EVERYONE now knows what you did online. Even people who heard of you once. Even the guy who beat you up when you were five years old. Definitely your employers. Your SO's oversharing is just another drop in the bucket o' drama that comes with this now. Gah.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:13 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dunno, about 15 years ago a friend of mine severely embarrassed his wife by showing me all the photos of their West Indian vacation, including the ones of her in a bikini. That was totally analog right there.
posted by dhartung at 11:01 PM on April 26, 2012


And that seems to be where Teh Drama kicks in because suddenly everyone you've ever met in your life can go randomly look you up and... [etc.]

This is another complaint I've heard frequently about Facebook, that it necessarily involves drama. And again, it seems to me like this is projecting or displacing the causation onto Facebook. My experience? I've been on Facebook since 2007 and I haven't encountered any of those things: Nobody harasses me, nobody tags me in photos that I'd object to, nobody judges me, and I have never baked a drama-frosted trouble-cake. If you are encountering these things (and I know many people do), then I'd gently suggest that it might be a function of your social circle and not Facebook's apparatus.

If staying off Facebook helps you avoid the drama, that's cool. Nobody needs to be on Facebook. But more likely that tactic is working because you aren't interacting with John, Sally, Bill, Melissa, etc. than because of anything having to do with Facebook per se.
posted by cribcage at 12:16 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


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