Breaking up through electronic media on the rise, expert says

(U-WIRE) With today’s technological advances, such as Facebook and text messaging, the proper etiquette of “breaking up” with a significant other is unclear, said communication and culture instructor Ilana Gershon.

Gershon, who is in her third year of teaching at IU, began researching this topic in October 2007.

“I want to look at the ways to disconnect with people,” Gershon said.

In her speech, Gershon will discuss her findings based on the 50 people she has interviewed and the 300 surveys she has given. Gershon researches the different meanings in breaking up with someone over a medium such as Facebook as opposed to breaking up with someone using cell phones or other technology.

Freshman Erin Schutt has had experience with a “Facebook breakup” when one of her friends was unknowingly broken up with by her boyfriend, who ended their relationship on Facebook.

“She was really mad and upset,” Schutt said.

Gershon said these types of stories aren’t uncommon today with the new technology, and said she noticed that people age 25 or older tended to use e-mails to break up whereas those under age 25 tended to use instant messaging and cell phones.

“People have very different ways of using mediums,” Gershon said.

Gershon said different communities of people use different technology and that there are sometimes problems with this variation.

“I think Facebook and instant messaging are the worst ways,” said freshman Lauren Marcum. “The best is definitely face to face.”

Gershon said that out of the 300 people she surveyed, only two said breaking up face to face is no longer the ideal method.

Gershon is currently writing a book about her research on this topic. The book is titled “The Break Up: Disconnecting Over New Technologies,” and Gershon said she hopes to finish the book in the next year or two.

“I’m interested in writing a book that undergraduates will enjoy reading,” Gershon said.

The speech, which is titled “It’s Not Official Until It’s Facebook Official: Breaking Up Over New Technologies,” is free, and Gershon said she is interested in discussing this topic with those who would like to attend.

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