It's Valentine's Day, which means lots of PDA.
Not the kind that got you in trouble in high school. The online kind. These days, it's more common to declare your love in a public Facebook post than in a letter or card.
Emory professor Mark Baurlein argues that Facebook has killed the love letter.
Back in the old days, love wasn't social, it was private. Communication, not to mention courtship, seemed to take a long time. Hours of contact with the loved one alternated with days alone with your longing. Except for a close friend or two, you kept it secret until you were established as an "item," and even then you maintained the border between private exchange and social identity as a couple. The medium of love -- the letter, the quiet walks, the rose, the kiss -- remained between you and your interest, and you didn't reproduce it for others. When you were apart, solitude hurt, but it made the time together all the more precious.Today, with the spread of social media, the pain of separation is over, and so is the exclusivity of love.
I don't know if all genuine love is anti-social, but I think that posting a love letter online for the world to see can change its meaning.
If you're the writer, you might be more careful about what you write, because you know you're taking a bigger risk. You could be publicly humiliated for your feelings -- or for your terrible, sappy writing. If you're on the receiving end of a public love letter, there's pressure to respond with enthusiasm you may not feel. That's why I'm not a fan of marriage proposals via Jumbotron either. I think old-fashioned love letters are more romantic.
What do you think?