"Hold on, babe, let me just choose a filter real quick." My girlfriend said this to me the other night as I was trying to tell her about the day I had -- good or bad, I can't remember, nor is that the important part of my story. Really, an Instagram filter is more important than what I, your boyfriend, has to say? (That's what I thought in my head, anyway.) Then, I quickly calmed down and thought, heck, I say that kind of stuff all the time. I tweet, post and choose filters for a living, so I should be more forgiving.
It got me thinking: Is social media taking over my relationship? Between working in the field myself and dating a lifestyle blogger, we're managing up to 25 social media channels at any given time and five different presences on those channels. That's a whole lot of password changes. Our nightly routine consists of "social media time," where we check all of our sites to ensure that nothing has changed in the few minutes since our last log-ins (and I'll be the first to tell you, nothing has ever changed). Still, it's a part of what we do.
Our romantic dinner night's out have become a work of "social media" art. Get seated. Check-In. Order a cocktail. Position said cocktail (with manicure in focus) slightly off coaster for photo opp. as beaded necklace sparkles in background. Main course is served. It's my turn. We're not allowed to dig in until I get this shot just right. OK, got it! But, wait, what filter? Confirm that borders are still uncool. Finally, we can feast. Usually, that comes with discussing a social media strategy for her blog too. Then, it's a wrap.
I've also become a "blogger boyfriend," despite my many attempts at dismissing the title. Have you heard of this? Yes, it's a real thing -- and I don't know how I feel about it. It's not simply being the boyfriend of a blogger. Oh no, it's much more than that. As a "blogger boyfriend," you're required to take photos using a DSLR camera of your blogger girlfriend's weekly outfits around the city in various locations. OK, at least I don't have to do this every week. But, seriously: Pack your patience, people. This show happens rain, snow or shine. She usually baits me into taking these blog photos -- typically at a local park or graffitied side street -- by offering a ride home (and if I'm lucky, she'll throw in a coffee). The "shoots" can go pretty quickly as long as I remember the most important detail: Always get the full shoe in the frame!
Don't get me wrong -- there are advantages to being in a social-media obsessed relationship. Take, for example, vacationing together. Do you ever want to reminisce about that amazing trip together? Well, you've got a whole lot of avenues to do so. What was our favorite part of the vacation? Check out the "Peak of the Week" weekly feature on her blog. What was that great restaurant we went to again? Go to my Foursquare check-in for more details. Remember that can't-miss scenery we witnessed? Well, we've got it covered from every single angle (and filtered for your viewing pleasure) on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes, she'll even ask to take photos from my phone because she insists the quality is higher than on hers. After snapping a shot, she'll text it to herself to ensure she has the perfect #latergram.
I really should have seen this coming -- we did meet on OkCupid. The first social media site we connected on with each other was LinkedIn, which was pretty fitting, considering we say that if things don't work out, we'll always have a good networking relationship (both having journalism backgrounds). All jokes aside, this social-media fixated lifestyle came to light after one simple momentary lapse in filter choice.
Now, it's time to revisit my original question: Is social media taking over my relationship? From all that I've said above, the answer, in terms of quantity, would have to be "yes." But, is that a bad thing? That's when my answer changed to "no." No, it's not a bad thing that the two of us are so passionate about this one particular thing. And we're passionate about this one particular thing together. It's my career and her favorite hobby. We share that despite how crazy it must look to, say, our server at dinner. Moving forward, it's all about learning to control that passion. Unplugging (yes, I said it) for a weekend. Not posting to Instagram while vacationing together. Sharing our likes (no pun intended) without having to share them to the world all the time. We'll share them when it's appropriate, instead.
Social media can be a shared interest, but be sure not to care more about the interest of your followers than whom you're interested in.
To keep up-to-date on their social media journey, follow Stephen (@StephenMariani) and his lifestyle blogger girlfriend (@2girlsin2cities).