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Cortland/Ithaca

Social media and romance have a complicated relationship

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Social media and romance have a complicated relationship
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Facebook just celebrated its ninth birthday. That means nearly a decade of friend requests, "likes" and a whole lot of relationship status updates. With Valentine's Day approaching, YNN's Sarah Blazonis sat down with some relationship and tech experts to find out how the social network has affected our love lives.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- If you've ever logged onto Facebook, you've probably experienced it. You scroll through your news feed and there it is, right underneath the Instagram photo of what one of your friends ate for brunch: The Facebook relationship faux pas. It takes many forms.

"When people write lovey-dovey things to each other on Facebook just to make it public," said Facebook user Zoe Kazzaz.

"I hate when people keep getting together and breaking up on Facebook and it always blows up people's news feeds," said Tenley Bands, another member of the social media site.

Matchmakers Pam and Scott Stowell say more and more clients are running into relationship problems because of technology and lack of face-to-face communication.

"Somewhere around 80 percent of all communication is taken in and judged by body language and tonality, which leaves a very small part for the words," said Scott Stowell, vice president of the CNY matchmaking business Lunch Appeal.

Such mishaps have prompted the Stowells to give clients tips for navigating social media and technology. They say, as always, honesty is the best policy.

"When you meet somebody and you already find out right away that they lied to you about whatever, the pictures, their weight, it's going to catch up with you," said Pam Stowell, Lunch Appeal's president.

It's a lesson social media experts say more people may have to learn as publicizing relationships becomes more common.

"There is a lot that will be discovered as we go along, as we figure out what the long term ramifications are, but I think that it is definitely changing the way we view how we create, build and maintain relationships," said Kelly Lux, a social media strategist with Syracuse University's School of Information Studies.

Facebook reports that the days around Valentine's Day are the busiest for changed statuses, with 49 percent more new relationships than break-ups during this time.

Still, some say they still feel it's best to unplug when it comes to their personal lives.

"A relationship isn't about whether you're in a relationship on Facebook, it's about your connection with the actual person," said Facebook user Ann O'Connell.

Because when it comes to matters of the heart, the last thing you need is more complications.

If you were wondering, Facebook reports the day after April Fool's Day is the busiest day for break-ups, with 11 percent more people change their statuses to "single" than enter new relationships on that day.

Tips from Pam and Scott Stowell on using social media include:

Be honest in online profiles. Make sure you're not putting a false portrayal of yourself out there for potential partners to see.

Don't take other profiles at face value. Nothing beats face-to-face communication to learn about someone.

Have a friend of the opposite sex take a look at your Facebook or other profiles to get their opinions on what you're putting out there for potential romantic partners to see.

To learn more about Lunch Appeal, the Stowells matchmaking business, visit www.lunchappeal.com.

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