It can be somewhat enjoyable in a sleazy, voyeuristic way to observe celebrity couples flirt with and bitch at each other on Twitter, but it's less funny when it's your own personal life that's in the spotlight. Thanks to social media, we're ALL kind of internet famous nowadays, which means normal, non-famous couples have to discuss privacy boundaries before one spouse starts Instagraming his or her partner's bowel movements, or what have you.
"There is a standard negotiation that takes place in lots of relationships, but now there are multiple audiences watching," Lee Rainie, the director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, told the New York Times. "There will be awkward moments, even more so if that negotiation is played out in public." Well, duh. Still, the Times' examples of couples navigating that weird online space are kind of funny, if only because they prove that we're all pretty much the same when it comes to social insecurities, regardless of whether it's our fans or our grandparents that are watching our every virtual move.
Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal:
The 43,000 Twitter followers of Rosanne Cash, the singer and daughter of Johnny Cash, have come to expect her tart commentary on married life with her husband, John Leventhal, a Grammy-winning musician. She chided him for performing at a concert in jeans he had worn three days in a row. Another day, she posted that he had cajoled her to help organize his "stuff." But Mr. Leventhal, known as Mr. L to Ms. Cash's followers, apparently is not a fan of her enthusiasm for sharing online.
Ms. Cash said in an interview that another time she wrote about her husband taking a nap. When he showed up at the studio, the sound engineer was puzzled, since he had just read Ms. Cash's post online. "I thought you were taking a nap," the engineer said to him.
"John called me and he was really annoyed," she recalled. "He said, ‘Don't tell people I'm taking a nap!'"
There's also "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos, who was named "anchor most likely to be anxious about his wife's tweets" thanks to his comedian spouse's politically incorrect sense of humor. (Sample tweet: "Honey, stop sexting me and pay attention to the debate!")
Nozlee Samadzadeh and Jarrett Moran are early 20-somethings who have been co-blogging on the same Tumblr, Needs More Salt, since 2009. After Samadzadeh upset Moran by joking about his lack of cooking skills, they agreed to review each other's comments before posting. That, along with other anecdotes in the story, lead one to believe that Moran is a wee bit sensitive about his internet presence for an anonymous food blogger, but hey; to each his own neuroses.
Doctoral student Rebecca Gray was very upset when her live-in boyfriend took a photo of her face covered in a mudmask with her eyes closed and mouth open wide and posted it to his Facebook. Understandable, sure, but the biggest breach of privacy was that he took the photo from her personal computer without asking! And then — the horror! (But seriously, I'd be pissed, too) — she tried to remove it, "but could only untag." It was too late. It had reached The Newsfeed. Luckily, she had his password — of course she did — and was able to remove the photo herself. Maybe Gray and her boyfriend should both spend a little time away from their electronic devices.
The moral of the story is that everyone, regardless of his or her follower count, has different boundaries, so it's a good idea to ask your partner before you start tweeting his or her every drunken quip. And, according to the Times, it's never too early to start the discussion: "Couples also are talking through rules as early as the first date (a kind of social media prenup) about what is O.K. to share." Bummer! I was totally planning on live-tweeting and geotagging my next date. Not a good idea?
Image via auremar/Shutterstock.