The holidays are upon us, and for many Americans, that means traveling to spend time with family that you haven’t seen in weeks or months. Chances are you’ll find yourself making small talk about your jobs or friends or living situation. But you might be able to dodge one of the classic forms of family interrogation: Thanks to Facebook, your family—along with the hundreds (or thousands) of other people you call “friends”—already know whether you’re seeing someone. And they may know a whole heck of a lot about that relationship, too.
We’ve all read the think pieces and studies arguing that Facebook and the like have caused us to be too public about our love lives, to overshare all the minute details, in ways that aren’t always healthy. From couples publicly documenting every relationship milestone to elaborately staged proposal videos gone viral, the TMI culture of social media has led to an explosion of romantic oversharing, one that’s intensified as internet and social media use has evolved from a fringe pastime to a fixture in the lives of more than a billion people around the globe. But while widespread social media use may be new, the urge to crow publicly about our relationships isn’t. History is littered with analog rituals intended to publicly proclaim our connection to another person, from the ‘50s-era ritual of “pinning” to the longstanding tradition of wedding rings. And what are weddings themselves if not an IRL status update conducted in front of a few dozen (or hundred) of your closest friends and family? Read more