hey, the wall street journal's giving the times's "modern love" column a run for its money! in this weekend's edition, "'til tech do us part" -
Marriage counselors say they're increasingly hearing couples vent about electronic clashes. More than that, they say, the inherent solitude of Web surfing -- keeping tastes in music, movies and literature locked on their own computers instead of visible on the bookshelf -- sometimes adds to intimacy problems. "People have grown up in a more isolated world, so that coming together to share domestic life is a bit more difficult," says Danille Drake, a marriage counselor in suburban Washington.

Of course, sharing can create its own problems in the event a couple breaks up. Peggy and Michael Andrzejczyk, a recently divorced Detroit-area couple, are feeling the digital fallout. Peggy, 50, and Michael, 49, are still using their joint email address, although it's meant they've had to see each other's online dating alerts. They split amicably, Ms. Andrzejczyk says, but it was still strange when he remarked on her potential dates: "That's a little uncomfortable, when your soon-to-be ex-husband says, 'Hey, there's nice guys on there. I like Number Three.' "

For Derek Powazek, 34, there are limits to what he'll share with his wife, Heather. The San Francisco couple has separate blogs; his focuses on digital media, hers on photography. Mr. Powazek says he sometimes sees her quoting his best jokes on her blog, and he tells her not to steal his material (she credits him after the fact). As for sharing one blog, the idea "never came up," he says. "It would be like saying, 'Let's share our underwear.' "

interestingly (or not), there's little or no friction between joe and me on any of those fronts. it could be that we're old enough that we didn't really come of age in said "isolated world" - hell, we didn't even bother to get cell phones until after college (which is part of why i'm so amused when parents bitch on the local news about how vital their grade schoolers' phones are. i say gps-enabled anklets are much less disruptive in class, and child molesters can't use them to text your kid).

we also aren't very proprietary about some of the most 'personal' gadgets in the piece. the ipod i got for christmas a few years ago, for example, promptly became community property, so worrying about one person's itunes infecting the other's device (a big issue for one of the couples profiled) is totally moot. where else would the music go? also, is it so hard to blip past a rogue track or, damn, just make your own playlist? i admit that sharing would be more difficult if either of us cared to use the ipod to work out or walk around town, but we hook it up to the stereo when we have people over (and take turns deejaying), and joe uses it on planes, and that's about it. on things we do use frequently and don't use in the same way, like the netflix subscription (joe will not watch my leprechaun or dekalog picks, understandably, and i have to be in a special mood for hitchcock or a western), i think common couple courtesy sorts everything out: he's got access to the queue just like i do, and i make sure he wants to watch whatever's up if i'm about to get something new and he'll be around to see it (i save the lauren-only picks for when he's out of town, say, or at the gym). there aren't, admittedly, many joe-only things on the list, but i seem to care more about it than he does. i can't imagine acting like the guy in the wsj piece who wakes up extra-early so that he can knock his wife's movies out online at the last possible minute; are we sure their problem is technological?

the one thing i won't share: an e-mail address. i don't mean that i need to have a supersecret way to communicate - joe has all of my passwords, and my cell phone doesn't even have one - i mean that joeandlauren4eva@gmail.com would be really scary.
Partly because online activities can feel so solitary, some couples look for ways to achieve togetherness in their digital lives. Sherry and John Cheung created a joint "johnandsherry" email address. Ms. Cheung, 28, says the shared address makes her feel more like she's part of an official couple.

"It's a 'We're the Cheungs' type of thing," says the telecommunications manager in San Ramon, Calif. She says she's more likely to use it when she's writing her married friends (many of whom also share addresses) because they understand she's operating as part of a unit now.

But Ms. Cheung's friend Hui-Lin Grecian balks at writing to "johnandsherry." Ms. Grecian says she worries Mr. Cheung might forget to pass along a message if he checks the email first or might feel left out if she fails to include a greeting for him, as well. "A little more thought has to go into it," Ms. Grecian says.
GROSS. we have an official couple thing, too: i call it an apartment.

as for the blog, sadly, it is like underwear-sharing: joe is perfectly welcome to use it, if the spirit moves him, but he ain't interested. and i don't take it personally.

how about you? david and meg, paul and pica, kolz and wabes - what's it like to co-blog, or to have co-blogged? folks in general, do you play well with others?


uncle paul said...

Co-blogging definitely changes your sense of audience and expectation; since Pica and I write differently, and I don't do her department as well as she does, I had more trouble coming up with anything that seemed adequate and ended up not posting much at all by the end. The joint blog was nice as an artifact, but we both probably do better with separate spheres.

wabes said...

When we traveled together, co-blogging was fun - we got to tell different stories in different ways. But then you have the same story told in a different way, or that you want to tell in a different way, or want to illustrate with different photos...and so it goes from there. We're both kind of headstrong, and we agreed to tag-team our travel. And now I keep mine up independently.

But on another weird note, my good friend from DC just happened to recommend Andrea Barrett to me as an author, completely out of the blue - and there it is on your recently read list!

lauren said...

that was a read for work, wabes, but i liked it enough that i wanted to check out an earlier book of hers with the same characters - ship fever, i believe it was called? - and was disappointed to learn that it's a short story collection rather than another novel (not to hate on collections at all, i was just hoping for a novel). i think you'd like TAWB, though - it's about TB patients at a sanitorium in the adirondacks at the beginning of WWI. i don't think it comes out for a few more months, but i could bring you the ladymag copy if you like - lemme know.

Meg said...

I'm pretty much fine with co-blogging, but then again, I'm not all that obsessed with my blog (other then the sad fact that we never get direct comments, though our friends are always emailing us or calling us and mentioning it). But we haven't even bothered with a site meter yet, so I don't think I'm off to blogher next year or anything. The real problem with co-blogging for us is that in the end, David doesn't really blog. I bug him to, but it never really happens. I'm always trying to get him into web 2.0 technologies (twitter! flickr! blog!) and he just takes no real interest. Which is funny, since he's by far the more tech savy of the two of us.
I would like a co-email account in a way, just because I'm always emailing thank you notes or change of address notes or whatever, that are really supposed to be from us, but in the end I just send it and sign it "David and Meg"... which works I guess.
We're back to two laptops now post move, which i guess isolates us a little more tech wise... we will totally surf the web for a hour in the same room.

enjelani said...

peripherally related: i just had a conversation about what it means to co-Evite. you can host a party together in a totally platonic way, yes? even if it does look suspiciously like a wedding invitation to see "__ & __" at the top of the page?

i'd liken iPods and Netflix queues to groceries, and blogs to wardrobes -- happy to share and compromise on anything i didn't acquire purely for personal expression. co-blogging would cross the line into creepy coupledom, i think...like always showing up to social events dressed in coordinating colors. eew.

enjelani said...

oh, and for email, what about a forwarding-only shared address? you could compose from the shared one when necessary, and messages coming in would always go to two individual inboxes. maybe that's overly complicated, but it's a way of having the option of a united front while still keeping your own identity...

Meg said...

Hey! Co-blogging is not creepy coupledom. Signing you blog posts "Meg & David" would be creepy. But I mean, on our blog, we both are members with individual profiles and you can see who wrote each post. Hence, not creepy. like, I can wear my boyfriends sweatshirt and not be creepy, but if I started wearing his whole outfits, it would weeeeeiiirrrddd.

Ok, that was just in my own defense.

lauren said...

e: i've gotten platonic evites without squirming - that is, without squirming because of the header. the fraught relationship in that context is always between me and the sender(s)/guests (hello narcissism); i can't handle the pressure of having to commit to an engagement in a way that everyone else can see and judge. i know this is kind of pathetic.

i read your take on co-blogging as a comment on your relationship with your sites (and i like the analogy in general); as such, i don't think it makes meg's creepy (meg, i salute separate profiles).

my peripheral note, in turn: joe argues that if we both wear ironic t-shirts on a given night, we "match" and are creepy. true?

Meg said...

Ok, the ironic t-shirt bit is the best thing I've heard all week. I suppose it is sort of true. If I got you a "Jogging for Christ" shirt though, i would PAY you to wear it on the same night. But in the midwest, I think.

Now I have commented to much on this entry. But Haloscan is emailing me about it, even though I didn't ask it to.

enjelani said...

i realized as soon as i clicked "publish" that i had not, in fact, ever read a couple's shared blog. get yer informed opinions right here!

so having remedied that, and now knowing that co-blogging does not have to mean entries like "we had a great morning tying each other's shoes! now we're off for our tandem bicycle ride! cheers!" the wardrobe thing makes sense in a non-creepy way: separate clothes, same closet. it was the notion that a blog necessarily maintains a consistent voice that was tripping me up.

by the way, meg, glad you're enjoying san francisco!