Miss Netiquette’s Guide to romance on Social Networks

Miss Netiquette's Guide to Romance on Social Networks

The Internet is a wonderful if confusing world – and that’s why you sometimes need to be pointed in the right direction. Lucky for you, some of us spend far too much time online and logged in – and that wealth of experience translates into some social networking know-how. Consider Miss Netiquette (who you can reach at netiquette@digitaltrends.com) your guide to Web manners, and this week, she’s got all the advice on digital romance.

Dating is the worst. There are no rules anymore, everyone thinks they can do better, and even online dating that doesn’t involve getting off your computer is exhausting and demoralizing. Finding someone you’re actually willing to commit to is like finding a needle in a haystack filled with thousands of needles. More needles than you’ve ever seen. It’s tough out there.

So when you miraculously stumble into a relationship, it’s definitely something worth shouting from the rooftops. Which presents another challenge: Social media is our collective rooftop, but if you shout too loudly, you’re going to make all of your single friends want to defriend and unfollow you, not to mention hate you IRL. You might have to seriously exercise self-control, but here are some extremely necessary guidelines for lovers on the Internets.

Dear Miss Netiquette: How long should I wait until friending someone on Facebook? I’ve gone on two dates and she hasn’t requested me – should I pull the trigger?

Everyone loses their mind about when you should friend request someone. Do you think you’ll see them again, like, on purpose? If so, friend away. If you’re going nuts trying to picture who’s posting on their wall, just friend request them. As long as you’ve gone on a few dates and you have a decent rapport, no one thinks it’s super-weird to friend request someone anymore. Now, don’t do a social media onslaught and follow her on Twitter and Instagram and friend her on Snapchat at the same time. Just do Facebook, it’s the most mainstream (and you have the highest chance of seeing pictures of her exes on there, you creeper.)

Another warning: a friend request at early stages of a relationship is fine, but hold off on gushy wall posts. More on that in a minute.

Dear Miss Netiquette: My boyfriend is awesome. We’ve been dating for a month and I’m freaked out by how perfect he is. There’s just one problem: He’s really into posting super-corny shit on my Facebook Wall. How do I gently tell him the digital PDA is too much for me – and getting me so much grief from my friends?

Tread lightly, but hold true to your instincts. Gushy wall posts are one of the scourges of Facebook. First of all, they make no freakin’ sense, just send those sappy greetings in a private message, fools. There’s no reason to do the wall post thing unless you’re trying to show off your love to someone else – an ex, or just everyone who said you’d never find someone to boink you in high school. Any way you slice it, it’s weirdly performative and gross. You seem to be on the same page as me, though – now, how to break it to your boyfriend? Don’t make him feel bad, but frame the conversation in such a way that he knows you appreciate the sentiments, just not the way they’re packaged. Send him something mushy in a private message and say “Write me back here, I like these private chats.”

Dear Miss Netiquette: My girlfriend and I just got in a big fight and now I’m not sure what the deal is. Should I change our relationship status to “It’s Complicated?”

“It’s Complicated” is the relationship status equivalent to an Ed Hardy shirt. It lets the world know that you’re a giant mess with questionable decision-making skills. Wait until you see each other in real life and figure out what’s going on! Don’t let all of your Facebook friends know that you’ve hit the skids. I advise caution in getting into relationships on Facebook, since changing “In a relationship” back to “Single” is always a chance for your frenemies to be like “U ok!? :)” while you sob into ice cream. I think you should wait at least six months to acknowledge your relationship on Facebook at all, just to make sure it’s getting serious.

TL;DR: Never, ever use “It’s Complicated.” That’s the title of a Nancy Meyers movie, not an acceptable status update.

Dear Miss Netiquette: I follow this hilarious dude on Twitter, and recently he DM’ed me and told me he thinks I’m cute. What should I do now?

Twitter is a pretty good way to root out witty folk, but if you want to transition from Twitter friends to real-life lovers, you should ease the transition by talking on other forums online. Ask him for his email address. Or friend him on Facebook, since Facebook tends to have more personal stuff on it than Twitter, so you’ll get to know a little bit about what his friends are like and not just the amazing things he live-tweeted during last week’s episode of The Voice.

Dear Miss Netiquette: I’m gonna break up with my girlfriend of four years. Should I block her on Facebook and unfollow her on Twitter afterward?

When people break up they often say that they want to remain friends but they really mean I hope I never see your dumb face again. If you really never want to see her again than you might as well block her from your News Feed and unfollow her. De-friending is a little harsh, since it suggests that being Facebook friends is uncomfortable and painful for you. If that’s true, then that’s fine – de-friend away. But if you’re the one doing the breaking up and you want her to know you’re just not that into her, you’ll actually get that point across better by just staying friends with her on Facebook, since it says “I don’t care if you see what I do on the Internet.”

If you have any mutual friends and there’s a remote possibility of hanging out or being friendly again, I’d say just block her from your News Feed temporarily but stay Facebook friends. Life is long and grudges are generally shorter.

Dear Miss Netiquette: My girlfriend is a total Instagram devotee. Should I propose to her by putting a picture of the ring on Instagram? I think she’ll love it.

No. She will love it more if you do it yourself like a reasonable human being and then she can Instagram the ring afterwards. Give your head a shake.

Dear Miss Netiquette: I accidentally hit “like” on my crush’s profile picture … from 2007. Should I fess up to creeping on them or just ignore it? 

Just ignore it, since they’ll know that means you were combing through their pictures with the intensity of a camp counselor convinced that her newest camper has a bad case of lice. If they bring it up, admit it, but don’t make a big deal of it – if you want to grab life by the balls and actually be up-front with your crush, say “I wanted to see if you looked as cute back then as you do now.”

Actually, don’t say that, it’s mad cheesy, but say something simple and non-stalkerish that lets them know you were looking at their pictures because you think they’re hot.

If you’re too shy to take my prescribed “no game-playin'” route, then just tell them you were with some friends and everyone wanted to see what people looked like a few years ago. That way your crush won’t know if you were the one that decided to look at them, or it was someone else you were with, and they also won’t know how many other people you were aggressively creeping. Congratulations, you just confused the shit out of the person you like! 

Social media is our generation’s premiere way to creep on people we maybe want to get freaky with, but it’s really not an ideal place to wade into deeper relationship waters. If you’re hanging out with someone and they decide to skip the “are we doing this?” talk and just ask you to be in a relationship on Facebook, that’s not a good sign. Social media is a great place to get in touch with friends and show people the glossy highlights of your life, but you don’t want to use it as your primary (or even secondary) relationship communication tool – and you should keep your private ups and downs off the Internet. 

Emerging Tech

The Flamethrower Diet is better than keto and I burned all this food to prove it

When I first caught word that Elon Musk's Boring Company was selling a fully-functional flamethrower, I knew right away that I wanted to use it as a replacement for all of my modern cooking appliances. Why use a microwave when you can use a…
Movies & TV

September brings 'The Dragon Prince,' an animated war series, to Netflix

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Social Media

How to send money on Facebook

In case you weren't already aware, you can now use Facebook Messenger to send or request money, which will allow you to skirt the fees oft-associated with services like Venmo. Here's how to use it.
Smart Home

What is Instacart? Here’s how to use the grocery delivery app

One of the most popular grocery delivery apps is Instacart, which you can use to receive your groceries in as little as an hour. A shopper near you will deliver it to your door, saving you a trip to the store. Here's how it works.
Social Media

Facebook expands fact-checking net to try to catch doctored photos and videos

Facebook is now fact-checking images and video along with articles, using third-party organizations. New A.I. helps flag potential fakes for human review, but user flags and comments still help recognize what content might not be accurate.
Social Media

New to Snapchat? Follow our guide and go from newbie to pro

Whether you're a Snapchat addict or a newbie, our detailed Snapchat guide will help you become a pro in no time. Find out how to get started, spice up your snaps, chat, send money, and carry out a host of other useful actions.
Smart Home

Restaurants may soon have chefs who know all about you before you walk in the door

At Seattle’s Addo, chef Eric Rivera gives pop-up-style restaurants a permanent home, and he leverages everything from Instagram to a ticketing service to bring in customers.
Social Media

How to run a free background check

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for carrying out a background check, and not all of them are creepy. Here are several methods that allow you to run a thorough background check on someone online, whether you need to vet a potential…
Social Media

Twitter makes it easier to find and watch live broadcasts

Twitter is making further efforts to promote livestreams and broadcasts on its service. Rolling out globally, live video broadcasts from accounts that you follow will now appear at the top of your timeline.

Instagram’s shopping stickers for businesses see wide rollout

As the Stories format continues to grow, Instagram is allowing users to shop the items inside a Stories photo or video. Instagram recently expanded stickers that let people shop inside a Story by tapping on the sticker.
Social Media

Facebook is paying cash rewards if you find vulnerabilities in third-party apps

As part of efforts to put the Cambridge Analytica scandal and related issues behind it, Facebook said this week it's expanding its bug bounty program to include third-party apps and websites that could potentially misuse its data.
Social Media

A lot less clutter! Twitter relaunches purely chronological timeline

If you still miss the reverse-chronological timeline that Twitter ditched two years ago and you're fed up with all of the extra algorithmic tweets appearing in your feed, there's now a way to return it to how it used to be.

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.
Social Media

How to turn off Snapchat’s location-based Snap Map

Thanks to an opt-in feature added last year, Snapchat may be sharing your location with friends whenever you open it. Here, we'll walk you through how to turn off said feature off and regain some peace of mind.