Breaking Up On Social Media

News broke when former Mediacorp actress Jacelyn Tay deleted and reinstated a recent Instagram post about her divorce.

Sharing something so private and negatively perceived by society can be nerve-wracking. So why do public personalities feel the need to announce a private affair on a platform so public like Instagram?

Pressure of influencer culture

In a small country like Singapore, Jacelyn Tay probably felt obligated to post about her divorce before word gets out and tongues start wagging.

On social media, we toss out bits of personal information to build rapport; it gives us influence and even wealth. Kim Kardashian knows this strategy best and built her brand on it.

Nobody is proud to declare a breakup, but it happens more often than we think. Perhaps being authentic is more important than pretending everything is alright.

Jacelyn’s divorce post is complete with a smiling child and an update of him on a business class trip to Europe. It seems to say, “We’re fine, **** off!”

Is it common practice?

Most Millennials I polled said they would not share a breakup this publicly. After all, Instagram is our happy face, our social portfolios, the side of us we want to present to the public.

But Millennials with a larger Instagram following expressed that they feel an obligation to share if their followers are somewhat invested in their relationship. Instagram is a story we curate and tell our followers. In that vein, we owe them a happy or unhappy ending.

In the social media era, we give up a little bit of our privacy for social currency.

Reasons to make a breakup public

Before there was social media, Rachel, 24, had a public breakup with her ex from Junior College in 2011. They had dated for two years and their insecurities caused fractures in their relationship. She was eventually dumped.

Rachel expressed that breaking up publicly was cathartic and allowed friends to contact her and express their concern.

“He has a small dick…” she wrote on her blog.

Because she was from an elite school where social circles are more tightly knit, word got out fast. It damaged his reputation and he only managed to date girls outside of their social circle after.

It helped her to find closure in a public way and some form of vengeance. I guess all’s fair in love and war?

Remember how Ashry Owyong Min five-timed a girl? She publicly blogged about it on Dayre and it generated awareness so other girls wouldn’t be cheated by him.

What divorce means to us

When I was growing up, seeing my parents argue heatedly and the prospect of them divorcing caused uncertainty and fear.

I had a sense of foreboding that my entire life would fall apart and I had to choose between mum or dad. Now a grown-up, I often say, “Just get a divorce lah!”

Having developed my own identity, I no longer cared whether I came from a picture-perfect family. I also got tired of being sandwiched by my parents’ issues all these years.

When a familiar face like Jacelyn shares about her divorce publicly, we have to confront own anxieties of facing a dying relationship or a broken family.

While it’s not the happy ending we like to believe in, couples like Brangelina have already ruined it for us. So what’s one more celebrity split?

Breaking Up On Social Media

Trump uses Twitter because it allows him to connect directly with followers, skipping the publicist.

In that way, he keeps communication direct and sets the boundaries the way he likes it. Similarly, Jacelyn Tay warns she will delete any comments and the happy, smiley photos are all she is willing to divulge on the divorce.

Being somewhat transparent and telling people to mind their own business after that is a good strategy to quell rumours. It also is a great way to control your own narrative.

After all, honesty is the best policy and it might even help you sell a few more products.

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Cover Image: Source