A guy named Curt Buthman made Internet history by becoming the first person to propose on Vine when he popped the question to girlfriend Marsha Collier. She said yes – via Twitter, of course.
While these stories of viral online proposals are cute and a better use of the Internet than, say, supercuts of models falling off of runways, they’re also part of an increasingly disturbing trend, in which every part of a relationship has to happen in the most public forum possible.
My grandparents were fortunate enough to have a single professional photo from their wedding to remember how they looked on their big day. Now, couples not only have full-on professional photoshoots at their wedding, but many have engagement photoshoots, proposal photoshoots, wedding videos, wedding photo booths, and (down the road) pregnancy and baby-related photoshoots. When you’re Jessica Chastain promoting your latest Oscar-nominated film, constant media appearances are part of your job. When you’re a regular person living your life, constant media appearances are gratuitous. There’s nothing wrong with wanting beautiful photos of your wedding day, but expensive posed photos, taken seemingly for the purpose of sharing them on social media, are just unnecessary.
But it isn’t just about pictures. These days, it seems like every component of a relationship has to be shared. It isn’t enough to tell your close friends that you’ve met someone special – you have to change your relationship status on Facebook and add it to your timeline. It used to be that the occasional public marriage proposal – on a Jumbotron at a sporting event, for example – was rare and clever. Now, a couple can’t engaged without livetweeting ithe entire event and sharing a dozen Instagrams of the ring.
Aren’t we overdoing it a tad? Though social media is a great way to stay connected and share big news with faraway friends and relatives, that doesn’t mean couples have carte blanche to obsessively share every intimate detail of their relationship via the Internet.
Ultimately, any relationship should be most important to the two people in it. If a couple can’t reach any relationship milestone without turning it into a public spectacle, what does that say about their connection to each other? If you can’t sit in a room just talking about everyday stuff with the person you love, then no amount of Facebook likes will fix that. And if a couple gets engaged in a private place with nobody around to document it, it still counts as a real engagement.
By all means, share your happiness with your friends and family. Just make sure that you share it with each other first.