Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Net Worth

A friend of mine recently broke up with a guy she'd been seeing casually for a couple of months. How did it happen? A mutual friend posted on his facebook wall, inviting him and his girlfriend (not my friend) to a party.

Are you ready to share with him?

It reminded me of a post I did about netiquette - social guidelines (or etiquette) for the online world. Things like not ignoring someone (or turning your back on someone during a conversation), not having private conversations in public and presenting yourself in a respectful, courteous manner. All things that hold true in real life, that should also apply to online relationships. 

It occurred to me that I left one very important item off of the list: Sharing important information.

Don't get me wrong - of course you should announce your engagement or your pregnancy or your new job via facebook, twitter, and whatever other ways you like. No doubt you have friends with whom that is your major communication; if you don't share, they won't know, and that is what makes friendships great.

Before you share, just think about this: Is there anyone with whom you have more than an online relationship, that might deserve to hear your news in a more personal way? Maybe your mother doesn't want to find out that you are getting married because your cousin's congratulatory wall post shows up in her facebook feed? Or maybe your best friend would prefer you tell her in person that you're moving 500 miles away, rather than "overhearing" it on twitter?

Every relationship is different; that's not new. When you were younger, you probably had a best friend to whom you told everything first. Maybe when you did get engaged, you wanted to make sure your parents knew before anyone else. Or maybe since you found that new "other" you've been telling him everything before you put it on twitter.

That's what I'm talking about. I'm not saying you need to adopt a whole new set of rules for who you tell what, and when. Just think before you share. Make sure you're treating your relationship with the respect it deserves. After all - you don't want the most important people in your life to feel as though their worth has been reduced.

Do you?

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