The Couples Who Use Location Sharing to Track Each Other 24/7

GPS_Couple

Excerpt from this article:

Two years in, Mike Mancini and his girlfriend agreed it was time to take their relationship to the next level. The couple had just moved to a new city, and it was only natural that they solidified their partnership and made a lasting commitment to each other.

They opened their iPhones and turned on location sharing — indefinitely.

“It’s not about trust or making sure that we’re not cheating or anything,” he says. “It’s more of a useful thing for times where we’re meeting up and I want to see how close she is to the destination, or checking to see if she’s still at work without asking her. One time I even helped her get her phone back when she left it on the train, because I could see its location still.”

Advertisements

Facebook: Where Friendships Go to Never Quite Die

A zombie hand giving the thumbs-up, à la a Facebook "like"

Excerpt from this article:

The site has created an entirely new category of relationship, one that simply couldn’t have existed for most of human history—the vestigial friendship. It’s the one you’ve evolved out of, the one that would normally have faded out of your life, but which, thanks to Facebook, is instead still hanging around. Having access to this diffuse network of people you once knew can be pleasant—a curio cabinet of memories—or annoying; if those good memories get spoiled by an old friend’s new posts; or helpful, if you need to poll a large group for information. But it is, above all, new and unusual.

But users still have an “ambient awareness” of Facebook friends they aren’t communicating with. As one study defines it, this is “awareness of social others, arising from the frequent reception of fragmented personal information, such as status updates and various digital footprints, while browsing social media.” Basically, you probably know if any of your old high-school friends are pregnant right now, whether or not you’ve spoken with or even actively checked up on a given person, as long as you’re both on Facebook. You’re no longer sharing life experiences or creating memories with these weak ties, but as you live your separate lives, you’re forever in each other’s periphery.

Rediscovering My Daughter Through Instagram

Excerpt from this article:

Social media has been blamed for ruining our democracy, shortening our children’s attention spans and undermining the fabric of society. But through it, I was able to be with Paulina out in the world again, to see what she sees, to virtually stand beside her and witness the people and places she moves through, in nearly real time. Not in a parent-policing role, but in a wonderful-world sort of way.

There were gorgeous landscapes from Orient on Long Island, where we’ve spent part of every August her entire life, lovingly captured with the title “My Happy Place.” Tender close-ups of Dean. A picture of her best friend bandaged in a hospital bed after a seizure last year. “I love you,” Paulina wrote under it. And photos of a trip we took upstate last winter, blue blue windows looking out onto the evening’s snowy landscape. It was the same view I had had, but perfectly archived for eternity.

Then there was the photo she posted of herself as a little girl among autumn leaves, wearing a checkered skirt, pink leotard and green high-tops.

“Wish I was still a little kid,” the caption read.

So I wasn’t the only one.

How to Grieve for Online Friends You Had Never Met in Person

Excerpt from this article:

Our ideas about which relationships are “real” have not caught up with the ways we actually live and connect, said Megan Devine, a Portland-based psychotherapist and author of “It’s OK That You’re Not OK.” She’s adamant that this deep sense of loss isn’t limited to in-person friendships.

One of the difficulties Ms. Pahr faced after Amy’s death was a lack of empathy from others. “Even well-meaning and compassionate people don’t place the same weight on your grief,” she noted, the way they would if you lost a friend you knew in person.

…This can often lead people to experience what psychologists call “disenfranchised grief”…

 

Are You Really in Love if It’s Not on Instagram?

Excerpt from this article:

My friend stuck her phone under my nose. On it was a picture on Instagram of a couple we both know, a photo of one of them pursing her lips over a frothy cocktail in a dim bar, flash on. Underneath, the caption said something like, “Weekly Love Post #72: Fancy cocktails with bae #mygirlfriendisbetterthanyours #weekiversary #sorryshestaken.”

The members of this couple are nice in real life, and they are in love, and that is wonderful, but they are terrors on social media. The weekiversary posts are just the tip of the frozen-barf iceberg. There are also close, glistening photos of their home-cooked nightly dinners (kissy face #shesakeeper). There are unrelenting, near identical pictures of one of them napping next to a cat (heart-eyes #allmine). The content is nauseating and compelling; an endless highlight reel of two people who are strangely uninterested in keeping private, small joys in their relationship private.

Why do people perform their relationships online? Who is it for? I don’t understand the point of regularly writing deeply personal declarations of love, even if it’s platonic friendship love, for thousands of strangers to see. Do people do it to mark territory? To make their person feel good? To show others that someone is worthy of love, but — hold up — you’ve already chosen them?

Our real lives and online lives are merging; they’re starting to feel indistinguishable. Even regular, noncelebrity people cultivate their own brands. Is a relationship real if it’s not flaunted on Instagram? Is the new definition of a commitment-phobe someone who chooses to keep relationships offline?

You Up? College in the Age of Tinder

Excerpt from this article:

Dating apps may have killed the college dating scene. Because it’s so easy to swipe left or right on a seemingly endless pile of potential partners, it’s become harder to actually meet anyone. As students, we are told over and over that college is a time for us to expand our social groups, to meet new people and grow into adults. But the indecisiveness that is built into dating app culture can stunt us — we’re trapped in an endless cycle of swipes! Commitment, already a scary concept to many, becomes even more difficult with the false illusion that the dating possibilities are endless.

Frankly, dating apps can also just make things incredibly awkward.

While single students at Mercer University use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, Snapchat reigns as the most eye-roll-eliciting app for sparking college romance. To know if Brian is interested in a serious relationship or a casual fling, read the time stamp on his flirtatious Snapchat message. The same Snap asking to “hang out” sent at 2 p.m. can have a completely different meaning when sent at 2 a.m.

The New Dating Requirement: Consuming All of Your Partner’s #Content

Excerpt from this article:

Declaring your relationship on Facebook used to be enough to solidify your online bond with a partner.

Not anymore.

Now, couples are forced to navigate the murky waters of Twitter faves, Snapchat streaks, twinstagramming, subgramming, going Instagram official, and more.

As Alana Levinson wrote in Splinter, “A love interest consuming your content is now as perfunctory as opening a door for a woman once was.”

If you really cared about me, the theory goes, you’d care about what I’m up to. Ergo, watch my Stories.

For most people, watching their partner’s Instagram Story is a way to show they care. Whether done consciously or unconsciously, it sends the message that you’re interested in what your significant other is thinking and doing.

“I’ve never been in this situation, but I think if I were dating someone who was as into social media as me and they didn’t rabidly consume all of my content, I would definitely be pissed,” said Molly in New York.

Most partners will begin watching each other’s Stories in the courtship phase of the relationship.