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    • In#macy  &  Social  Media    The  rela#onship  between  digital   technology  and  roman#c   rela#onships  of  today’s  youth   Sarah  Boucher  
    • "Young  people  are  at  the  forefront  of  developing,  using,  reworking,  and  incorpora8ng  new  media  into  their  da8ng  prac8ces  in  ways  that  might  be  unknown,  unfamiliar,  and  some8mes  scary  to  adults"  (p.  117).  
    • History  of  Contemporary  Da#ng  •  Contemporary  da#ng  and   courtship  prac#ces  are  a   20th  century  development  •  Emerged  out  of  working-­‐ class  "calling"  prac#ces  •  Supported  by  "the   movement  of  youth  from   work-­‐places  to  public   schools,  the  development  of   school  dances,  and  the   independence  afforded  by   the  spread  of  automobile  •  Current  rituals  are  less   formal  and  uniform  than   those  of  their  historical   counterparts  
    • Modern-­‐day  Rela#onships  •  Romance  is  a  salient  feature  of  social   development  in  adolescence  •  Teens  learn  about  da#ng,  in#macy,  and   romance  from  their  friends  and  social  circles  •  Teen  romance  and  rituals  take  place  both   publicly  and  collec#vely  •  Da#ng  and  romance  prac#ces  and  themes  are   a  central  part  of  teens  new  media  prac#ces  •  "Using  social  media,  contemporary  teens   con#nue  to  craM  and  reshape  da#ng  and   romance  norms  and  rituals  that  are  now   deeply  #ed  to  the  development  of  new  media   literacies"  (p.  120)  •  Youth  u#lize  3  primary  technologies  in  their   in#macy  prac#ces:  mobile  phones,  instant   messaging,  and  social  network  sites  
    • “Controlled  Casualness”  of  Digital  Communica#on   •  New  media  allows  teens  to  meet  and/or   further  poten#al  roman#c  interests  in  a  way   that  might  feel  less  vulnerable  then  face-­‐to-­‐ face  communica#on   •  The  asynchronous  nature  of  technologies   provides  teens  with  the  ability  to  deliberate   and  carefully  construct  messages  that  appear   to  be  casual  
    • Language  of  “Controlled  Casualness”  •  Online  communica#on  supports  the  “whatever  theory  of   language”,  in  which  people  are  increasingly  using  more  informal   linguis#c  forms  to  write  and  communicate  •  Casual  online  language  is  used  to  create  an  inten#onal  ambiguity  •  Such  communica#on  is  a  “contextually  specific  literary  prac#ce,   acutely  tuned  to  the  par#culars  of  given  social  situa#ons  and   cultural  norms”  (p.  125)  •  The  text  cites  Bob,  a  white  19  year  old,  who  reported  carefully   edi#ng  his  grammar  and  spelling  to  give  the  appearance  of  an  “off-­‐ the-­‐cuff”  comment  •  Public  venues  afforded  by  social  network  sites  (such  as  “walls”  on   Facebook)  provide  yet  another  layer  of  casualness  and  protec#on  
    • New  Media’s  Role  in  Mee#ng/Flir#ng  •  Flir#ng  via  the  online  networks  of  “controlled   casualness”  promotes  offline  mee#ngs  and   deepens  casual  #es  to  online  friends  •  Networks  are  relied  upon  to  do  some  of  the   verifica#on  work  in  online  secngs  
    • Con#nuous  Contact   •  Technology  mediates  teens’  long-­‐ term,  steady,  and  commided   rela#onships   •  The  “always  on”  possibili#es  of  new   media  intensify  teens’  high   expecta#ons  of  contact  with  and   availability  of  their  significant  others   •  Much  of  rela#onship  and  emo#onal   work  is  done  through  the  usage  of   new  media   •  Affec#on  is  demonstrated  through   private  and  public  media  channels;   such  as  intensified  reciprocity  in   online  communica#ons,  exchanging   digitalized  symbols  via  text  or   instant  messenger,  and  affirming   their  rela#onship  publicly  via  social   network  sites  
    • Social  Network  Sites  &  Rela#onships  •  Social  network  sites  are  the  embodiment  of   teens’  rela#onships  •  Friends  are  ranked  to  according  to  strength   and  seriousness  of  their  rela#onship  and   commitment  •  Rela#onship  status  indicates  dedica#on  to   their  significant  other  •  Public  messages  and  posted  “couple”  pictures   further  convey  the  nature  of  the  rela#onship  
    • Facebook  Manners  &  You  •  hdp://www.youtube.com/watch? v=iROYzrm5SBM  
    • Breaking  Up  Online  “New  communica#on  prac#ces  oMen  require  that  teens  take  a  variety  of  steps  to  sweep  up  the  digital  remnant  of  a  given  rela#onship  and  to  deal  with  access  to  and  the  con#nuing  digital  presence  of  their  former  significant  others”  (p.  132).  
    • Breaking  Up  Online  •  Breaking  up  online—whether  through  tex#ng,   IM’s,  or  a  SNS—is  generally  viewed  as   disrespeclul  •  The  consensus  views  face-­‐to-­‐face  interac#on   as  the  preferable,  more  respeclul  course  of   ac#on  when  ending  a  rela#onship  
    • Breaking  Up  Online  •  For  teens  today,  changing  a  public  representa#on  of  a   rela#onship  is  a  normal  part  of  the  now-­‐mediated   rela#onships  •  Digital  representa#ons  of  rela#onships  on  public   venues  ensues  a  public  performance  of  breakups,   showcasing  individuals’  emo#onal  reac#on  to  the   situa#on  •  Public  documenta#on  of  rela#onships  and  breakups   indicate  the  need  for  valida#on  and  support  from   one’s  peers  •  Breakups  can  be  reflected  passively,  or  displayed   ac#vely  
    • Passive  Communica#on  •  Despite  the  demise  of  a  rela#onship,  teens   oMen  s#ll  inhabit  the  same  networked  publics,   and  thus  retain  an  indirect  channel  to  monitor   each  other  and  communicate  aMer  breaking   up  •  Teens  can  passively  communicate  through   their  online  profiles  and  presence  
    • Privacy  &  Boundaries  •  Digital  communica#on  circumvents  geographic  and   ins#tu#onal  constraints,  providing  teens  with  a   sphere  of  privacy  to  communicate  with  their   significant  others  •  However,  it  requires  a  nego#a#on  of  new  boundaries   and  spheres  of  privacy  in  one’s  in#mate  rela#onships   due  to  the  expecta#ons  of  high  contact  it  creates  and   the  amount  of  personal  informa#on  shared    
    • Vulnerability  •  New  media  allows  teens  to  manage  their   emo#onal  vulnerability  (i.e.  controlled   casualness)    •  However,  new  media  also  makes  youth  more   suscep#ble  to  the  sharing  of  informa#on   about  them  outside  of  their  control  
    • Conclusion  •  For  teenagers  today,  par#cipa#ng   in  the  mediated  world  of   technology  is  essen#al  to  being   part  of  an  offline  social  world  •  Youth  are  developing  new  kinds  of   social  norms  and  literacies  through   the  rela#onal  and  emo#onal   prac#ces  of  digital  technologies  •  This  peer-­‐based  learning  is   significantly  changing  how   in#mate  communica#on  and   rela#onships  are  structured,   expressed,  and  publicized