Break Up Tweets

Almost everyday I sign on Twitter and I see posts, of both females and males, referencing break ups. These tweets come in all different forms: sad quotes, song lyrics, or just ranting about what comes in their mind. I must admit some of these tweets are pretty harsh. Each time I come across one of these breakup tweets, it amazes me how couples go from loving each other to hating each other and can encompass all those feelings in a mere 140-character phrase. I have a theory that the purpose of these tweets is to facilitate the break up process. There are many stages when trying to get over a break up. These stages come in phases; one may as go as far as to even compare these stages to the stages of death. They are denial, depression, acceptance and eventually, moving on. Just by reading the content of the tweet one automatically knows the stage the tweeter is in.

The first stage of a break up is denial; this usually happens to the person who was broken up with and refuses to believe that the break up actually happened. An example of this is when Julia was broken up with by Chris and as a result of the break up Julia turns to Twitter and tweets “No worries, you’ll be back.” This tweet is clearly directed to Chris, to whom she assumes will come running back to her. Denial is one of the most humorous of the stages because for some couples, people have a hard time believing they have even been broken up with. To an outsider, it is obvious that the tweet is about a break up and that Julia was the one who was broken up with. However, it makes more sense to someone who personally knows Julia and Chris because they have previous knowledge that Julia and Chris have broken up before and, in the past, have gotten back together. It generated a lot of attention from Julia’s friends because they know that Julia and Chris have an on again/off again relationship but it did not get attention from strangers. This could be because the tweet was posted in the middle of the night, which leads me to think that the break up was not anticipated and came on suddenly.

Depression hits the hardest and is the most obvious on Twitter. Girls post depressing tweets when they are in the second stage of a breakup. These tweets are most typically sad song lyrics and love quotes. An example of this is when Caitlin tweets “I wish you knew that I’ll never forget you as long as I live.” This tweet is actually a song lyric from Taylor Swift’s song “I Wish You Would”; Taylor Swift is famous for singing songs about break ups. After analyzing the content of the tweet it’s clear that Caitlin is very sad about her break up and misses her ex-boyfriend. This type of tweet doesn’t exclude any part the audience that the writer is trying to invoke. Caitlin’s tweet is not trying to invoke a response from her audience but only to help her cope with her breakup. Marwick and Boyd state that certain people post to not please an audience but too only please themselves. Although this particular tweet may not help Caitlin to get over her boyfriend, it may help her cope with her sad feelings towards it. This tweet also gives into the complete cliché that pictures girls who have been dumped as they mop in their room eating tubs of ice cream listening to sad love songs. The only difference here is technology has just been added to the mix.

The third stage of a break up is acceptance and it occurs when people accept the consequences of their break up and understand that they will not be getting back with their ex-boyfriend. Personally, acceptance is the most gratifying step of a break up especially if it’s after a long-term relationship and it took a while to achieve. For instance, Rebecca tweets “No more tears, because I didn’t lose you. You lost me.” Based on the tweet the audience can infer that Rebecca accepted her break up with her ex-boyfriend and is no longer feeling sad about it. The tweet also allows the audience to believe that Rebecca believes that she can do better than her ex and does not feel bad about the break up anymore. While these tweets are in the stage of acceptance, they still bear some form of bitterness towards was happened while Rebecca tries her best to be proud.

Finally, the last stage of a break up is moving on; this occurs when people are over their ex and are ready to move on to find a new boyfriend or girlfriend. On a Friday night, Bianca tweets “Single and ready to mingle.” The audience can tell that Bianca is over her previous boyfriend and is ready to move on. The fact that the tweet was posted on a Friday night leads the audience to believe that Bianca is going to the club or to the party and is going to look for a potential boyfriend or possibly just a hook up. In my opinion, a tweet like this does not insinuate that Bianca is looking for anything serious and just wants to hook up with someone to get her mind off of her ex.

Most of the tweets relating to break ups and the stages do not receive a lot of attention from the outside audience or people who are not friends with the tweeter. On Twitter a lot of people follow mainstream accounts such as Cosmopolitan Magazine and these accounts do not respond to tweets by their followers. However, friends of the tweeter are more likely to respond to the tweets because they have knowledge about the break up that others do not; this knowledge may lead to inside jokes that cause the tweets to be humorous or ironic in their eyes. People, mostly girls, post on Twitter to relieve stress and anger that they may be feeling at that moment. This relates to the Marwick and Boyd’s idea that people post on social media sites to please themselves. Although break up tweets may not be pleasing because the content is usually negative, they can be self-satisfying because it allows people to express feelings that would otherwise be bottled up. Personally, I have gone on several Twitter rants after a break up because I was flooded with emotions and used Twitter as my outlet. I find that these rants helped me to let out my feelings and I didn’t care if any of my followers responded to my tweet or favorited it.

However some tweets pertaining to break ups may be made in effort to get attention from the person’s ex. For example, when Bianca posted her tweet about going out after being single it may have been made in an effort to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. This can also be relevant to Rebecca’s tweet is about her deserving better; it is possible that Rebecca wants her ex-boyfriend to know that she believes she can do better than him.

I find that break up tweets do not generate a lot of attention from the audience unless the tweet is sarcastic or humorous in some way. The tweeter either tweets in order to get attention from their ex or they tweet to please themselves. The content of break up tweets is a dead giveaway to what stage of the break up the tweeter is in. These tweets allow the audience to see inside the tweeter’s thoughts, emotions and relationships.