Our Netiquette columnists offer advice for how couples should act on social media
Keep the goo to a minimum, and don't use a shot of the two of you as your profile pic
A recent study notes that couples tend to have similar Facebooking habits
On Monday, we paid homage to our fallen troops with bratwursts and kielbasa, and that means it’s officially the season of picnics, boat shoes and strolls along the boardwalk, hand in hand.
As couples pop up out of the woodwork, we deemed it a good time to remind you that as a duo, your doings – both digital and IRL – will come under particular scrutiny. In other words: You’ve got the potential to tick a lot of (probably jealous) people off.
A study that came out this February noted that couples tend to have similar Facebooking habits (intense and burning love for the sweet coding of Zucks, time spent on the site, etc.) The researchers hypothesize that we simply fall for people with similar interests, but it makes sense to us that this is more effect than cause – couples might start to follow their partner’s lead, e.g., amping up their time on the site if their partner’s an avid poster.
So if either you or your beau is doing something annoying on Facebook, Twitter, and the like, you’re probably both guilty of it.
We’re happy for you, really, we are. But in the meantime, we call for a cease and desist of the following obnoxious tics:
The couple-y crime: Gushing nonstop
The online equivalent of: Out-of-control PDA – e.g., making out in line for a row of Port-a-potties, surrounded by hapless spectators who soon may need that toilet to vomit
An arty Instagram snap of your girlfriend making French toast for breakfast: cute. A second image 45 minutes later of her whipping up fritters for your fancy weekend picnic, with a caption that concludes, “I have the best GF in the entire world!!!”? At a certain point, you’re bragging, and those tasty beignets are being baked not just for the enjoyment of you but for the wistful salivation of everyone in your network.
A good litmus test: If a single friend called and asked how you’re doing, would you pass along the same number of sappy anecdotes and boundless approbation? If the answer’s no, scale it back.
The couple-y crime: Sharing a profile pic
The online equivalent of: Adopting his taste in music, movies and political opinions; forgoing first-person to constantly utilize the royal We (“We really love Mad Men,” “We thought the wine was a little tannin-y,” “We have slightly elevated blood pressure but it’s only because we get nervous in doctors’ offices.”)
This is a contentious topic, and indeed, there’s nothing horrific about opening yourself up to your sig other’s interests in B movies and chillwave tunes. But we’re of the opinion that your Facebook profile is just that: yours, and showing two little faces to every person who searches for you (or glances at your Twitter or clicks on your blog or looks you up on LinkedIn – avatars be er’ywhere) is just a little…strange.
(Interestingly, the same 2012 study found that among their subjects – white, 20-ish-year-old college couples – the relationships were strongest in pairs where the chick had a FB profile pic of the two of them. But that’s probably because a coed in a peachy relationship is likeliest to show her BF off the world.)
If you must, use a cute, atmospheric photo of the two of you as your cover photo and pick a profile shot that shows your mug alone.
Notable exception: If you have a pic that shows Jack White in between you two because you spotted him on the Lower East Side and stopped him even though he was obviously wearing a hat and trying to blend in – by all means, make it your profile photo. Just take it down when the shock value has worn off.