Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice to the lovelorn, from Wall Street.

       Every once in a while, the Wall Street Journal veers slightly off course and becomes emotional. Yesterday was one of those days.

       The article that got my attention was "Lovelorn in a Facebook Age", about dealing with breakups.

       "It's not a heartbroken thing, it's a brain thing." The Journal was quoting Marianne Legato, a cardiologist and founder of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. I assume there are a lot of broken brains there.

       It seems the level of "neurotransmitters in the brain is affected by a romantic split, producing a range of symptoms from sadness and anxiety, to changes in sleep, appetite, and even motor coordination," the Journal said. "Sometimes it doesn't matter if you're the dumper or the dumpee", it concluded. Being a serial dumpee, I can understand.

      The point of the article was how technology today --- smart phones and social media --- help us try to hang on. Just a peek at your ex's Twitter feed or Facebook page can be a rush. According to the Journal, the temptation to send a quick text is almost overwhelming. "It's like we have a cocaine craving", observes Dr. Legato.

       So here's my question to you: with all this pent-up emotion, how come so little shows up on Facebook pages? I mean real emotion, not all the talk about the great party, accompanied with photos of someone's head on another's shoulder. We call each other friends on Facebook, but there's little grief, almost no anger, scarcely anything but either a smile or a face with a frown.

      Not that there should be. You don't see me crying on Facebook. But let's be honest, this is not the place for real friendship or true feelings about a break up. It's more like a summer theater with a friendly audience. We edit in our heads before we share online.  Not everyone can share their feelings with some people they hardly know.

     In fact, there are so many happy party shots on Facebook, maybe that's what it is. Party media. Social in that sense. We say superficial things we would say at a party, knowing the music's too loud and nobody's really listening anyway. We're there for fun, in our nicest clothes.

     Probably not a safe place to discuss the wounds of the lovelorn.




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