LOVE & TECH: It’s time to give up Facebook stalking our exes

Are you a Facebook stalker? I am.

Sometimes I get bored and I check up on the former loves of my life. I tell myself it’s because I’m curious, but it’s not. I wish it was, but it’s really because I want to know that my life is better. It’s sick and a little twisted, but I know I’m not alone here — or at least I hope I’m not.

I actually looked up the Big Ex just to see what his kid looked like. We broke up 3 years ago this spring and now he’s married to the woman he cheated on me with and they have a baby, so of course I was curious to see what was going on. I actually had the nerve to say that the kid was ugly. I mean, it looks like a wrinkly old man, but don’t all babies? Wrinkled and pink, babies resemble naked mole rats without the vicious teeth. Did I need to check in on my ex? No. Should I have? No.

Facebook has made checking up on your ex feel normal when in reality it’s creepy and strange. My life is going so well these days, I’ve got an adorable dog, an amazing boyfriend and a great new job; whether or not my ex is doing well is inconsequential to my happiness, but, like a car crash, I can’t look away. Except it’s not like a car crash at all, I’m not driving by his social networks, I’m Googling to find him. It’s only like a car crash if you regularly search for car crash videos on YouTube.


“Facebook has made checking up on your ex feel normal when in reality it’s creepy and strange.”

A picture illustration shows a man looking at the Facebook website on a tablet in Sofia


Facebook makes it easy to see who ‘won’ the break-up but in reality you’ve both won; neither of you are with the wrong person anymore, neither of you are wasting your time with someone who doesn’t love you, and neither of you are stuck with someone who is unhappy in their relationship. You both won. It doesn’t matter who initiated the break-up because even if he ended it, I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me.

Being loved and loving someone in return is infinitely better than being stuck in a relationship with someone who’s just there because they can’t be bothered to end it.

So one of my resolutions for 2014 will be to stop caring about what’s going on with my exes, to stop comparing my life to theirs, and to just enjoy the fantabulous life that I have right now.

The only good thing about seeing how the Big Ex’s life turned out is that he has all of the things I don’t want. I don’t want kids and he’s got one. I don’t want to get married and he’s married. I don’t want to live and work in the suburbs and he does. Our relationship never would have worked out. It was destined to fail and that is comforting.  In fact, looking back on it I wonder how we stayed together for as long as we did, it should have ended a lot sooner than it did.

Thank you Facebook for reminding me of how much better my life is now than it was before, but next time I try and look up someone that I shouldn’t how about you send me an electric shock right through my keyboard.


Follow Shannon on Twitter at @Shananigans.

How tacky is it to sell things on Facebook?

We’ve all seen it.

“Hey, I was cleaning out my closet and itemised, catalogued, and photographed all of this stuff to be sold. Oh maaaaaaaan, there sure is some good stuff here!”

Maybe you’ve even been the one doing it.

“Hm, instead of donating all this old crap I could make a few quick bucks. Stacy did say she liked this top after all. And it was fifty bucks new when I bought it in 2009. I suppose there is no harm in making an album and selling a few things, right?”


My mother used to drag us around to yard sales on every spring and summer weekend looking for deals. On the right kind of day you’d see half a dozen just driving to the grocery store. We would stop at every single one and then stop again on the way back to get the things she wasn’t sure about the first time we were there.

There is a dignity associated with the yard sale. This is a family, couple, or person who has come to the end of their spring or summer cleaning and actually just has a bunch of stuff to get rid of. They’ve thrown it all out on the lawn and put a kid with a tin box on the hopes of scrounging up four dollars for their once priceless CD collection, or maybe a quarter for a Rocko’s Modern Life colouring book that is half finished.

By the end of the day the afternoon are mostly empty and you have to go knock on the door to get their attention. By supper time they’ve given up, folded up the card tables, and thrown everything left into a hamper with “FREE STUFF” written on a poorly torn piece of cardboard in front of it. Game over. They participated in the time honoured tradition of the yard sale whereby you are granted no more than eight hours a year in which you can shamelessly grub for money from your friends and neighbours for stuff that is worth little more than it’s kitsch value.

Although it exists in the digital world, Facebook peddling is still a violation of this ancient suburban rule.

Remember that one yard sale that was just a little ways out of town that would be going on all year? You stopped and looked a few times and it was the same old crates of coke bottles and dog eared Danielle Steele novels every time. The reason you felt uncomfortable at these extended yard sales, aside from the pitbull chained to the tree in the lawn, was because you already understood that they were violating this code.

In your mother’s generation it was Tupperware parties or AmWay that violated The Rule by trapping friends, family, and neighbours into situations where they felt obligated to buy something to avoid the risk of being rude to someone close. No one enjoyed this, save for perhaps the person without social skill who pinned them there.

Today we have Facebook peddlers to fill this role by trying to run their apartments as if they were stores. Let me be the one to tell you that whatever money you may gain is most likely lost tenfold in respect from your peers. If you need the money so badly you should try and sell it on Craigslist or at a pawn shop.

But they won’t give me a decent price for it on Craigslist or at a pawn shop. 

Then you can’t get a decent price for it, and expecting your friends to pay more doesn’t put then in a very high regard. If you can’t find a decent price for it then donate it to a non-profit drive like Goodwill or a local church

But this is too nice to be donated to some stranger.

Then donate it to your friends. In addition to saving your friends from feeling obligated or uncomfortable by seeing your used clothes tick by in their newsfeeds you’re saving yourself the social disgrace of being considered tacky.

Bottom line: If it’s still good keep it, if you can get a buck sell it to a stranger, if you can’t then give it away.

WATCH: This TIFF short about Facebook will make you hate your computer

This unique Canadian short film, Noah, explores something we don’t see in too many other movies: just how much our online lives have supplanted our real interactions.

“In a story that plays out entirely on a teenager’s computer screen, Noah follows its eponymous protagonist as his relationship takes a rapid turn for the worse in this fascinating study of behaviour (and romance) in the digital age.”

The film by Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg explores the concept of isolation in a world where we are so connected to everyone around us all the time and has the added benefit of making you want to disconnect from Facebook and throw your laptop out the window.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Is the strange girl on Chat Roulette right to think that Facebook is destroying our lives? Have you ever done the not-so-unthinkable and hacked your significant other’s Facebook account to get dirt on them?


Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Facebook official

Recently someone told me that Boyfriend and I aren’t officially official because we haven’t declared our undying love for each other via the Facebook relationship status. They were serious.

I was shocked, because I haven’t had a relationship status since the Big Ex and I broke up; my status says nothing. I’m not single, dating or complicated and I’m okay with that. Boyfriend and I have been together nearly a year and we’re happy but we’re not the kind of people who need to shout about how much we love each other on Facebook. Neither of us feel that our bond as a couple would somehow be stronger if we had matching profile pictures and constantly updated our friends on how incredibly in love we are.

Don’t get me wrong, I gush, I talk to my friends about how happy I am, if I could write a good sonnet I would probably do that too, but Facebook is the place where I share cool shit I find on the interwebs, not the adult version of a high school locker.

I share a lot of my life with the internet, but Boyfriend and I have an agreement: he doesn’t read my column and I don’t write about anything that I wouldn’t want to talk to him about, so if I’m super mad at him I have to tell him before I tell you lovely folks. It’s a fair deal.

But blogging and writing is so much different than an obnoxious status update. Instead of declaring your everlasting love with a grammatically incorrect and socially unacceptable update, maybe you could text your darling.

It’s okay to be excited about the person you’re seeing, it’s awesome actually, but if you have to shout it out to the world do you think that maybe you’re a little insecure in your relationship? In the same way that we forget to check our phones when we’re having a really great time, when you’re really happy do you even have time to tell the world how happy you are?

There are people who are always an exception to the rule. Two of my friends were in a long distance relationship until very recently and I thought the love notes they sent each other were adorable and sweet, they needed the internet because they didn’t always have each other.

So while I don’t have a relationship status I’m very much taken, very much in love and I have no plans to change that any time soon. However, I’m also not about to change my status so that everyone else knows that my relationship is real. The people who should know him know him and the people I love have met him and like him almost as much as I do.

The next time you see a status change from me it will be engaged or married, if I get my way and we elope on an island; anything less isn’t worth the effort or the hassle from people whom I haven’t seen in years congratulating me on no longer being a sad spinster lady.

Reasonable political discussion in Ontario, RIP

Today I had the good fortune of coming across an old friend’s post on Facebook as it floated through my news feed. It wasn’t much more than what he usually posted: extreme support for the Ontario NDP, for whom he does work, and a stream of trash talk about the other political parties in the province.

Today’s posting happened to be a screen grab of the Toronto Star’s Facebook page where someone had forgotten to put quotation marks around an excerpt from an editorial, leaving it looking as if the Star had suddenly taken a caustic and personal stance against the ONDP leader Andrea Horwath.

His sentiments were along the same lines as everything else he’s ever posted. The Toronto Star has long been accused of being a mouthpiece for the provincial Liberal party, he explained, and this just goes to show that they harbour a resentment for Horwath that would go so far as to find fault if she saved a baby from a burning building.

Commentary on commentary.

I’ve never had one true political allegiance, having voted both Liberal and NDP in the past and even supporting some Conservative policy. More than anything I find the discussion and conversation around politics to be the most interesting part of the political cycle.

I found it particularly interesting that he himself would take issue with what he thought the Star was doing since his comments and postings might as well be dyed orange.

“As opposed to you,” I commented, “who would simply neglect to post on Facebook if Horwath went on a killing spree, eh?”

I even threw in a tongue-out smiley emoticon for good measure.

Commentary on commentary on commentary.

“His Facebook isn’t mass media,” came the quick response from someone else.

“No, the last major newspaper to share his views thankfully closed down shortly after the dissolution of the USSR.”

A cheerful jab. Maybe a bit sharp, but that is how old friends get on. A few milliseconds later I see a private message from my old friend pop up. “I don’t allow personal attacks on my wall. Would you prefer to take a minute to correct it or should I just remove your ability to post on my wall?” Uh oh.

I think about what to say here. Is he so closed minded that he actually can’t stand anyone disagreeing with him or even, as I did, lightly ribbing him? Is he so high on his sense of self righteousness that he actually, truly believes that everyone who works hard in the Liberal government and who works hard in the PC opposition are actively seeking to destroy our province? Is he so incredibly fragile that the slightest whiff of a differing opinion will destroy his whole world?

I figure he’s probably had a rough morning and give him the benefit of the doubt. I tell him my love for discussion and tell him one of my favourite quotes: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

A tirade of disagreements. “Just because there is an open forum for discussion doesn’t mean that you should take it to the limits,” he says shortly before deleting me.

While I was still reeling — not over the loss of a friend mind you, we were friendly acquaintances at school who hadn’t interacted in person for several years and he hadn’t crossed my mind since I had an awkward conversation with his boyfriend on Grindr last year — it dawned on me that this is the current state of political conversation.

This is the type of conversation I might expect from an American redneck perhaps, chewing on a strand of tall grass while lamenting that the president is a socialist Muslim out to destroy the country. This stark us versus them mentality isn’t just the property of the lowly masses of the right, either. I remember a time when George W. Bush was the president of the United States and people really truly thought that he was going to singlehandedly dismantle the country and that his policies were crafted with the specific aim of hurting people.

Here it has been adopted by on the far left like my old friend. The rhetoric is downright exhausting.


So they can change…

So they can change their own constitution to remove any references to socialism to become more palatable to centrist voters. At least, federally. Here in Ontario where the NDP hold the crutches under the Liberals the chant goes something like:


Behind the scenes at Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill the situation isn’t quite as nasty as people on the street (or Facebook) might assume. Friendships exist across the aisles, parliamentarians and senators working together in committee with those you’d think would be enemies sworn by blood.

What is so surprising about the serious tone my old pal took is that, as someone who works greasing the gears, you’d think he might have some more insight into the true workings of the political world. The attack-ad attitude is designed to appeal to the lowest common voter, someone who isn’t likely to do their own research and just follow the other lemmings off the proverbial cliff and into the voting booth.

The kind of blind, stupid passion he exerts as a tireless support for anything and everything NDP is more in place with a hockey fan than a politico. His total dismissal of discussion and conversation as important to the political process is frightening. Apparently the commentary from the Star was wrong and shouldn’t be allowed. However his commentary on this matter was correct and should be accepted as fact. And my commentary on his commentary got me silenced through deletion, the online equivalent of being removed from the room. What a great friend. Keep your fingers crossed he never winds up being your MPP.

It seems that the ONDP can be added the list of people so “enlightened” that they never want to hear another word contrary to their beliefs, joining such rub-it-in-your-face-smug company as Green Party supporters, militant atheists, and Habs fans.

In the end the irony of silencing someone for a comparison to Soviet newspaper Pravda appears to have been lost on him.

This is the current landscape for political discussion in our fair province. I’m right and you are wrong and la-la-la-la-I’m-not-listening.

Reasonable political discussion in Ontario, may it rest in peace.