Jump directly to the content
I Love You And I Don't Care Who on Facebook Knows ItAxelph / Flickr

I Love You And I Don't Care Who on Facebook Knows It


Sep 11 2013
Guidelines for PDA in the digital age.

We all know a Facebook cynic. Maybe you've even been a Facebook cynic. If you're not in a relationship, you might hate reading the statuses on Valentine's Day or anniversaries; if you are childless you might be tired of seeing friends post about their babies; if you hate cats, you might even condemn the pet-lover who shares too many photos of Mr. Whiskers.

Defenders of Facebook, even in Christian spheres, emphasize the community-building power and togetherness of the platform. As we scroll through updates, we ought to have the capacity to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, they say. But sometimes we're not being invited to share in the celebration or the mourning. Instead, as we review what's become a digital curation of people's lives, we get roped in as involuntary witnesses.

So, let's talk about the real problem here: "public displays of affection" through lovey-dovey messages on social media. Facebook PDA has a bad reputation for a reason, and it's not just because exhibitionist couples annoy us, both offline and on. Couples' Facebook updates can seem detached from the rest of the world, shared without inviting advice, perspective, or feedback from the close friends and elders subjected to each. (Who among us has something wise to say in response to a photo of a friend kissing her boyfriend on Facebook? If someone does, I'd like to know what.)

"Facebook official" isn't enough anymore; nor is tweeting from the altar. Now couples are "racing to share social media" by setting up joint Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other accounts as a sign of how in sync they are.

Maybe this will do away with some of this groan-inducing Facebook PDA, showed off through complimentary statuses, love notes, and kissy-face selfies on each other's walls. Typically, this type of shared content says nothing more loudly than "look upon us and be excluded." Here's a handy rule of thumb: If you wouldn't want anybody there in person – whether because you really do consider it private or you're afraid they'd protest – don't force them to be present on Facebook.

But some PDA can be sweet, endearing, and even insightful to the friends following our updates. Posting on Facebook can be an opportunity to introduce friends to part of our stories and the significant people in our lives. I noticed this around Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Sibling Day (?!) this year, when many of my friends posted about their family members on social media.

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

orSubscribeor
More from Her.menutics
Kay Warren: No More Needless Deaths

Kay Warren: No More Needless Deaths

How maternal health initiatives keep families alive.
Faithful Compassion Over Gut Reaction

Faithful Compassion Over Gut Reaction

From anti-Semitism to Boko Haram: How faith, not emotions, sustains our attention to tragedy.
The Selfishness of Digital Life ‘On Demand’

The Selfishness of Digital Life ‘On Demand’

Tips for helping teens (and ourselves) find balance in high tech world.
I’m Kimmy Schmidt, Minus the ‘Unbreakable’

I’m Kimmy Schmidt, Minus the ‘Unbreakable’

A cult survivor explains what a new sitcom gets right—and wrong—about life on the outside.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

If I See Blue, and You See White, Why Does It Matter?

The significance of our viral debate over #TheDress.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
I Love You And I Don't Care Who on Facebook Knows It