The Digital Ties That Bind: Love, Loss and Oversharing in the Internet Age


Ideas

The most serious relationship of my life so far ended last summer without a trace — physically at least. There was no ceremonious “return of the stuff” because there was nothing to return. No boxes of photos and trinkets, no mix tapes, nothing.

There was, however, an extensive virtual trail: thousands of IMs, texts, Tweets, Facebook pictures and Instagram posts. And that’s a lot harder to get rid of than a toothbrush. Love might die, but its digital counterpart never does. There’s just no way to completely scrub your digital self from a relationship in 2014, no quick way to sever digital ties once they’ve been formed and no easy way to tell your social media networks that you’re no longer together.

Of course you can untag pictures and break up on Facebook, but for those who’ve shared a lot, the digital impression of couplehood remains very much alive. That…

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