I recently came across with this news: “Turkish couple exchange wedding vows via Twitter”. Here’s how it happened: The city clerk initiated the ceremony with a tweet to the bride and groom asking if they took each other as husband and wife. The pair passed an iPad between them and tweeted back saying “yes” and officially became husband and wife.
When I read this news, two things came to my mind.
First, I thought that the way the couple used Twitter was quite innovative. The purpose of Twitter is to share information fast and dirty. It literally takes no time to post a tweet. Because you have 140 words limit you have to communicate what you want to say in utmost efficiency. You follow other people’s tweet without the hassle of friending them, and if you are following the right people you can be informed about what is going on in the world instantly. I consider Twitter as a place where chatterboxes meet. I have this image of gazillion thought bubbles popping every half a second. So, when I heard that the couple used Twitter out of its ordinary use, I thought that they perhaps discovered a second use for Twitter. It will be interesting to see if marrying on Twitter becomes a trend and a legitimate (or even standard) way of getting married.
Second, I tried to imagine what the experience of getting married via Twitter is like. What the couple did sure was innovative but did it do justice to the experience of getting married? I kind of wondered if the couple was like “Well…that was fun. Let’s have a real ceremony, now.” or were they like “Oh, that was so exciting! I can’t believe we are married now.” I believe that physical space and community involvement in both happy and sad events play an important role in how we experience things and the kinds of meanings we make. And the lack of physical and communal connection impoverish our experiences of things like wedding or death and leave us with perhaps a sense of incompleteness. In some respect, the couple did involve the community in their virtual ceremony; other people were watching their tweets. But is this experience can be replaced with having people in the same room and watch the bride and the groom actually exchange vows? Would someone get teary eyes when watching someone get married on Twitter? How would people remember a marriage ceremony on Twitter versus in real life?
My husband and I did not follow the traditional route either. We went to the city hall to get information, and when the clerk told us we didn’t need a witness, we decided to get married. We had our jeans and coats and took our own pictures with our iPhones and went back to the office to work after we got married. Per my mom’s request, the reception for the family came six months later with my mom taking care of literally everything, including the wedding dress. While I never regretted the way my husband and I got married (it makes a good story), I’ve always wonder if we felt differently if we have chosen the traditional route of getting married. After reading the news, I asked myself what I would do if my child came to me and said: “Mom, we decided to get married on Twitter.” Truth be told, while I really like digital media, I realized I am not quite ready for some things to change.