Most of us have experienced a romantic relationship (or two, or three)—the butterflies, new experiences, the “firsts,” and the seemingly inevitable heartbreak.
Oddly enough, the more I think about it, the more romance reminds me of social media. Let me explain:
1. The “introduction” stage:
When you first set your eyes on “that” guy/girl, you can’t wait to get acquainted, and learn more about them. Now let’s say a hot new platform is about to be released in beta. You know you’re signing up to be on the mailing list, hoping for one of the first invites or begging your friends who have access to “introduce” you to this new hottie. Oh, hey there, Pinterest!
2. The “honeymoon” stage:
Everything is going better than a Disney fairy tale with your newfound arm candy. You count the hours until you can see them, you can’t take your thoughts and eyes off them, and you’re over the moon with happiness. Doesn’t this sound like your first few months with Facebook? Point made.
3. The “this takes a lot of work” stage:
Relationships require a ton of energy and time to continue growing successfully, as do your social media platforms. Just because you have built your follower base and become a “social celeb” of sorts does not guarantee you will stay there if you don’t keep putting in the effort. Your Twitter followers will drop you like a fly, and your Facebook friends will start wondering why they even have you on their list. In other words, stop making an effort and your “relationship” will come crumbling down. Hello, Xanga.
4. The “it’s not you, it’s me” stage:
As a relationship starts to wither, the “it’s not you, it’s me” line is waiting for its cue. Whether you’re the one delivering that line or hearing it, it’s a signal that the relationship is no longer working. Social media works very much in the same manner. We outgrow people very quickly, so what makes us think we’re not going to get sick of Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or #insertnameofanothersocialmediachannel? (Hey, remember MySpace? Me neither.)
5. The “I have no idea why he/she broke up with me” stage:
In contrast to the above stage, you might get your heart broken without a “good enough” reason or explanation. It’s best just to acknowledge the loss, pick up the pieces, and know that you will someday find someone who makes you happy. Another company acquires your favorite social network and changes all the features you loved without asking? Concede that it will no longer make you happy, and move on. You will find your happiness eventually, I promise.
RELATED: Master the can't-ignore social media tools after Mark Ragan's one day social media boot camp.A version of this story originally appeared on the Finn Partners' blog.