The digital age has brought us more ways than ever to say ‘I love you’ but is this a good thing or a bad thing for February 14th?
There was a time when Valentine’s Day was a busy day for postmen, Interflora, Thornton’s and bistros with candles in wine bottles. It was exclusively for couples, with a big emphasis on exclusive and it was very pink.
Now we have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and e-cards and it’s very tempting to say the romance is gone…..but, we’re not so sure it has. Maybe there’s an upside?
The Upside to Love in the Digital Age
Actually there are a few. First – and let’s not under-estimate this one – there’s the convenience and immediacy of the online world.
Asking Siri to remind you to buy some flowers online and following it up with an e-card may not sound terribly romantic but it’s a whole lot better than forgetting. And frankly when pitched against the offline equivalent of a soppy Hallmark card and some last minute garage flowers it doesn’t look all bad.
As a minimum requirement solution the digital option for entry level Valentine’s giving probably has the edge. Though clearly it’s not as romantic and thoughtful as a carefully choreographed flash mob or being whisked away to a foreign love nest.
Another upside we’ve noticed is that Valentine’s Day in the digital age appears to be more inclusive.
It’s true we have nothing more than anecdotal evidence to back this up but social media has given people a platform to hijack Valentine’s Day. Facebook is a love hub for people sending messages, videos and songs to family, friends and folk who maybe just need a bump on the big day.
Others use it to organise Valentine’s events with their friends and have appropriated the day as a good excuse for a party. What can be bad about that?
Finally, there’s creativity and inspiration. It’s far too easy to be a digital humbug banging on about the good old days when would-be Romeos whittled hearts and cupids out of trees they felled with their own bare hands. The thing is the online world is fit to bursting with inspirational and creative ways to take Valentine’s Day into your own hands.
Just go online and see for yourself. Homespun GoPro love vids – funny and funky. How to make a Valentine’s flip chart book, romantic CGI frogs or stop frame animation. Valentine’s recipes. Craft ideas to suit every taste…there’s even some whittling going on!
The Etiquette of Love in the Digital Age
Not all bad then. Embracing the digital world on February 14th is a good thing – if you follow a few key etiquette points.
PDA, public displays of affection, in the pre-social media world this term meant anyone getting touchy feely in the world at large. Now it refers to those who plaster their news feeds with stuff that should on the whole remain private. For goodness sake people we’re British – we don’t do that!
Seriously, though it can all back fire and treading carefully is especially important in a new relationship. Unless you have explicit permission do not:
- Post any Valentine’s messages on his or her wall,
- Tag your Valentine in photos – yes, it’s tempting to show everyone what a great time you’re having but pics can be shared far and wide, a digital footprint is forever.
- Say ‘I love you,’ in any format, or send love songs unless you’ve said it person,
- Change your status to reflect your loved up status unless it’s something you’ve agreed.
The important thing, as ever with social media is that the same rules of etiquette that apply in real world, apply online. Keep this in mind and enjoy love online.
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