Power Marketplace’s public service journalism 💙 Give Now

Splitting up will never be the same

Adriene Hill Jun 15, 2012

Neil Sedaka was right.  Breakin’ up is hard to do.  And not just because it’s really sad.  The NYTimes has an interesting article on all the ways social networking has changed the dynamics of family estrangements.  

Not long ago, estrangements between family members, for all the anguish they can cause, could mean a fairly clean break. People would cut off contact, never to be heard from again unless they reconciled.  But in a social network world, estrangement is being redefined, with new complications. Relatives can get vivid glimpses of one another’s lives through Facebook updates, Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures of a grandchild or a wedding rehearsal dinner. And those glimpses are often painful reminders of what they have lost.

Social media has shifted the whole “I never want to see you again” promise/threat.  And not just with estrangements. No doubt college break-ups are harder to stomach–when pics of your ex keep showing up in the feeds of your mutual friends.  How is all the constant exposure to the past, which social media provides, changing us as people?  And do Facebook rights ever get negotiated as part of divorce settlements?  

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.