I’m sure there have been more stories about social media hurting a budding relationship than helping it, but let’s play devil’s advocate and examine the other side.
Is it actually possible for social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the like) to improve a relationship?
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Alexandra Samuel, director of the Social & Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University of Art & Design, co-founder of Social Signal and blogger for Oprah.com and the Harvard Business Review, writes about how these online sites are transforming our politics, work and (especially) personal lives.
Samuel writes on her website, “There’s a reason they call it social media: It is supposed to support our social lives and bring us closer together. So why do social networks leave so many of us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected?”
She continues, “If you find yourself too rushed or uncomfortable in person to weigh in with all the kinds of thoughtful, kind and loving words that are in your heart, use your online communications to be your best and warmest self.”
For a man, opening up to a woman — especially a woman he is trying to get to know better — can be difficult when in person.
As Samuel writes, “Use your online communications to be your best and warmest self.”
This is when social media can help improve a relationship.
Let’s look at an example:
You met Darby through a mutual friend. You’ve hung out a few times and she requested you as a friend on Facebook.
After a few weeks of following each other’s status updates, you message her and ask her out on a date. She gracefully accepts.
When the date ends, you make a stupid comment about how hanging out with Darby was better than being at the Playboy Mansion.
You meant to be funny, but all she gave you was a strange look while getting into a cab and saying good night.
You feel like a complete idiot. Instead of letting the spark fizzle out, you post a quote on her Facebook wall about a man sticking his foot in his mouth.
"You will have many opportunities in life to keep your mouth shut: You should take advantage of every one of them." ~ Thomas Edison
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It works. Darby messages you back and said she thought the post was in great spirits and she’d love to see you again.
There you have it, how social media can improve your relationship — as long as you don’t screw it up to a point beyond return.