Thanks to continually growing and ever-evolving modern technology, we live in a world that is more connected today than ever. Increasingly, Americans are using social media through any number of platforms. It is estimated that, in any given minute of the day, about 347,222 people are scrolling through Instagram. 1.5 billion people are estimated to use Facebook each day, and each month, 326 million people are using Twitter. All of these numbers are only continuing to grow.
Most of us have become very used to using social media in a variety of ways on a daily basis. Whether it is sharing information about our lives, learning about the lives of people we care about, reading the news, networking, or shopping, it has become integrated into our regular routines – so much so that we often don’t even give it a second thought.
If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce, though, or even if you find yourself seriously contemplating divorce, you should give social media a second thought. In fact, you should consider your actions on social media very carefully, as they might have more far-reaching implications than you might expect. If you find yourself contemplating a divorce or in the midst of a divorce, here are a few tips to stay social media savvy:
- Filter your “friends” list: Unfortunately, the very nature of divorce often causes divided loyalties. Though this is certainly not true of all friends or family members, certain people will feel as if they need to “choose sides.” Consider taking a careful look at your friends list if you are contemplating a divorce; particularly, if you are going through one. Anyone who you feel might try to cause drama, or to “spy” on your activities as a favor to your spouse, should be removed.
- Avoid sharing all of the details: It’s no secret that divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, and stressful. It’s not at all unusual to feel angry, sad, and hurt – and to want to vent about those feelings is entirely understandable. Certainly, it might be tempting to want to vent about your feelings on social media. After all, many have become very used to sharing so many aspects of their lives with others on their favorite social medial platforms. We would caution you, however, to think twice before doing so. A post that you make in anger or in frustration might be saved by your spouse and ultimately used against you down the road. Literally, when you make a post that you may later regret, you are creating evidence that can potentially be used against you. The last thing that you want, or need, is something you said in an emotional moment coming back to bite you when you least expect it.
- Fight fairly: Certainly, divorces can be contentious. After all, if you didn’t have some level of disagreement or disenchantment with your spouse, you likely wouldn’t find yourself in a situation where you’re seeking a divorce in the first place. It’s understandable, then, that you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse may not see eye-to-eye on more than a few things. Nevertheless, it is important to make every effort to avoid publicly airing these disagreements on social media.
Not only can any negative posts you make be captured and used against you as evidence in litigation, it’s also just generally ill-advised to engage in public arguments of this nature. This is particularly true if you have children. After all, if you are going through a divorce, your children are more than likely already feeling emotional. Making the transition from one home and one shared life to two isn’t easy. Understandably, then, it will only make matters more difficult for your children in the long run if their parents are fighting things out in a very public way.
The truth of the matter is that once you post something on social media, it’s out there for anyone to see. Even if you later delete it, there’s no guarantee that someone didn’t capture your post in a screenshot. There’s no guarantee that your children won’t later see and hear about the posts that you made – and this could cause them needless pain. Ultimately, for a variety of reasons, it’s best to vent, privately, to a friend, a family member, or a trusted counselor, and leave the fighting and negative feelings off of social media. In the long run, everyone will be better and happier for it.
- Take a break: Any divorce, even in a situation where circumstances as amiable as possible, can be stressful. It’s time-consuming. It’s emotional. It’s draining. It’s definitely a time when you should focus on self-care whenever possible. Perhaps part of that self-care might be taking a break from social medial, generally. Even though you might enjoy social media normally, it’s not only possible that you might post something in an emotional moment that you later regret, it’s also possible that you might see posts made by your soon-to-be-ex-spouse or others that causes you needless pain. It might be a wise decision to simply take some time away from social media as you go through the divorce process. Use that time, instead, to enjoy other activities that you love. Spend some time exploring a new hobby, enjoying time with friends or family that you care about, or doing something else that you find relaxing. Social media will always be there in the future, and the break might be good for you.
At 303 Legal, we specialize in serving the family law needs of those who live in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area, and we hope that these tips are helpful to those navigating the difficult waters of divorce in a social media age. If you find yourself facing the prospect of divorce, we would be honored to have the opportunity to put our substantial knowledge and experience to work on your behalf. We understand family law, and we are passionate about providing the highest quality representation to our clients. Contact us today – we look forward to helping you soon.