Love in a time of social media

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We grew up hearing how “love is patient, love is kind,” but now we have social media.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are the top 10 things I’ve learned about love from Facebook, Twitter and a never-ending dredge of other social media sites.

1) A parent’s love for his/her child isn’t suitable for public consumption. Children between the ages of 14 and 29 would prefer their online friends believe they spontaneously sprouted in a cabbage patch. And, just like those round-faced dolls, parents should contain their pride and ownership to a single signature on a well-hidden butt cheek.

2) “Rick rolled” is not an amorous activity. Engaging in it does show your age.

3) Segregation is alive and well. We no longer live in a world where love and friendship is left to chance. No, sir. The search for new relationships can now be tailored to your specific race, religion, profession and other personal proclivities. Online dating sites — a few sadly crafted for those already married — can connect farmers with farmers, white folks with white folks, and, presumably, furries with furries. (If you don’t know, don’t ask.)

4) Pornography is. There was a time when youngsters would gather their money, hand it to a complicit adult and wait patiently for one or two forbidden magazines to be purchased. So old school. Although most social media sites do try to police public pornography, some always gets through — usually arriving when you’re trying to introduce an older adult about the benefits of social media. While few men are brazen enough to whip out their privates as an opening gambit in public, penis pride swells on the Internet.

5) Breaking up is easy to do. It only takes a single click to end a relationship and announce it to everyone.

6) No degrees required. Forget the days when you had to spend money on individual or couple’s therapy. Social media is full of people who will tell you how to fix your love life for free, results may vary.

7) Divorce strikes without warning. One minute your feed is filled with smiling faces and perfection, two posts later you’ve been informed one of those smiles belonged to a stinky, egotistic jerk who will soon pay out the nose for various transgressions.

8) Fetuses can work keyboards, or have some inter-uterine speech-to-text capability that allows them to post ultrasound photos of themselves and provide regular updates on their growth.

9) Everyone is doing love a little bit better than you are. Seriously. The evidence of perfection is posted daily, multiple times.

10) Comment is free — and often more important than we realize.

It’s been said that in love and relationships, it is the little things that make the difference. No where is this more important than on social media where people regularly break political and economic ranks to console a grieving friend, celebrate good news, offer congratulations on a new job, or marvel at the beauty of a new life.

You never know when that tiny thing you took 10 seconds to post in response to someone else’s news will make a big difference.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go Rick roll the kids.

This column by Lynda Waddington originally published in The Gazette on February 14, 2016.