Remember that scene in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You where Drew Barrymore complains about the number of ways to be turned down by a date? Well, it’s worse after the relationship!
Couples who used to see each other’s friends only at parties now enjoy 24-hour access to their beloved’s confidants thanks to Facebook. Sharing passwords to e-mail accounts, bank accounts and photo-sharing sites is the new currency of intimacy. And courtship — however brief or intense — is wantonly scrutinized by the whole world on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook.
As a result, the idea of what it means to break up is also being redefined. Where once a spurned lover could use scissors (literally) to cut an ex out of the picture, digital images of the smiling couple in happier days abound on the Web and are difficult to delete. Status updates and tweets have a way of wending their way back to scorned exes, thanks to the interconnectedness of social media. And breakups, awkward and drawn-out in person, are even more so online as details are parsed by the curious, their faces pressed against the digital glass.
Consider this advice when breaking up a relationship in the new social media age: change passwords, stop posting on social networking sites, acquire a new e-mail address, and secure or make copies of whatever is posted about you online. Users, of course, control what they post on private accounts. Where it gets tricky, though, is when photos, videos and comments have been forwarded, retweeted or reposted to friends’ accounts or on public Web sites.