Monday, July 9, 2012



Once upon a time, all singles needed to worry about was waiting long enough in between dates to place the next phone call. Now, daters must think about the “right” time to send a Facebook request or start Twitter following the person you’re dating in addition to refraining from Internet stalking a new crush.

Besides the obvious like, not friending your new boyfriend or girlfriend’s pals before meeting them we’ve spoken to leading relationship experts for the nitty-gritty.

Below are some modern social media guidelines that will propel new, and long-term, romantic relationships.

When Done Right, Social Media Is Like Glue

Self-described Internet geek, wife and mother Alexandra Samuel, Ph.D., believes that the Internet sustains and builds relationships.

Social media is a daily point of contact for Samuel, the director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, and her husband of 12 years Rob Cottingham. Social media allows the busy couple to connect while apart.

“We’re all really busy and it’s very hard to find time for your partner,” Samuel tells Mashable. “Rob and I stay in touch throughout the day. We can also stay in contact indirectly because we monitor each other on Twitter.”

The couple uses Twitter to keep in touch, cheer each other on and “share the love.”

Their regular tweet conversations have garnered fans. The Twitter couple won a Shorty Award for the website WeTweet.ca that pulls all their tweets to each other into a stream.

“People will also tweet at us about what a cute Twitter couple we are,” she says. “These little reflections on your marriage or on your relationship from other people are incredibly valuable.”

For the couple, social media came naturally with equal interest. With other twosomes, one person could be more active on social media, Samuel says. If social media preferences are off balance, then couples will need to have a talk to lay out guidelines.

“You have to sit down and have a conversation about what you feel is private and what you feel like is enough attention when you’re together,” Samuel says. “What things about the relationship are okay to post and what hours it’s okay to be online.”

The duo has learned from experience to follow some guidelines. One rule prevents oversharing. “Our policy is I wouldn’t tweet something he said or vice versa without asking,” Samuel says.

Samuel also suggests that couples should not get mad at each other for missing or seeing public tweets. “You need to assume that anyone you see has read nothing that you’ve posted,” she says. “But equally, consider the possibility that anyone you know could have read or seen anything you’ve posted.

Social Media Guide for New Couples

Meeting someone new used to be more exciting. Being able to Google someone and read their Facebook, Linkedin, About.me and Twitter profiles in full, takes all the initial mystery and intrigue out of getting to know someone.

This is the new dating mistake many are making, says Julie Spira, online dating and netiquette guru and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating.

“When your relationship is new, I say avoid connecting on social media sites at first,” Spira tells Mashable. “Sure he or she may be excited about your relationship and can easily follow you on Twitter, but if you receive a friends request before or after a first date, it’s best not to accept it.”

A Facebook request or Twitter follow may seem harmless. However, experts warn being fast friends on social media could result in hurt feelings.

“Remember that it’s a new relationship and one may still be playing the field while the other only has eyes for you,” Spira says. “Becoming friends prematurely may result in hurt feelings when you see his photo posted hugging another woman. Even though it may be his cousin, your feelings will be hurt and you might be jumping to conclusions.”

How long should love birds wait? It could take a couple weeks or a couple months. It really depends on the individuals in a relationship, experts say.

“I think once you’re dating somebody, if you’re not at the stage where you feel comfortable asking them if you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook, then you’re probably not ready to follow them on Facebook or Twitter,” Samuel says.

But, it’s important to remember, “there’s a difference between friending someone on Facebook and just seeing their stuff as it comes up and going through their entire Timeline. You don’t need to go through the archives,” Samuel says.