Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of heading to the Art Gallery of NSW to see Thinktank’s Sam Mutimer speak on the changing language love with the rise of social media.
Sam covered much relationship ground in discussing this medium for expression. The way we express romantic love, the way that love is shared with our networks, the ways we express grief and loss and the various ways we connect.
While listening to Sam talk, I noticed a percentage of the audience nodding in agreement and understanding. While another percentage looked confused, possibly defiant, about this significant shift in self-expression.
This is when I started to realize that a lot of people’s perceptions of how social media can play a role in relationships is very black and white; if you’re on it, you live your relationship through it. Which most of us know, is completely untrue.
It’s not there to supplement real, human interaction; it’s there to compliment it, and is utilised completely by choice. And yes, I acknowledge it can complicate, but it’s just the vehicle – we don’t blame the car, we blame the driver.
It’s important to remember that love, itself, has not changed. Often, when we find love, we bring our networks into our space to share this. We communicate with our friends, partners and families by many means. Social media adds a new element to this.
‘…they (more often, the younger generation) are very comfortable using social networking sites to be able to communicate and share. Sometimes, because it’s such a strong emotion, it’s in the moment and you have to share it…’ – Sam Mutimer
So, it’s really same same, but different. The fundamental stuff hasn’t changed, however, some of our methods have. What was previously a love letter could now be an email, for example. We now have the ability to connect with our circle/s in an immediate way, seizing those times when you are ‘in the moment’.
At the core of this is the need to embrace the diversity of love, including the way it’s expressed. There is no one-size-fits-all.
For some of us, social media and love just don’t mix, and that’s totally OK. But, if you do receive an ‘I love you’ post on your Facebook timeline from that special someone….
Go on, at least give it a ‘Like’.