Breaking Up Is Hard To Do When You're Still In My Profile Picture

For every couple who posts and shares loving photos on social media, there's the scary question of what happens after a breakup.'s Carlos Watson talks about the idea of a social media prenup.

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From NPR West, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath.

It's time for the New and the Next.


RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, good to be here, and an early Happy Memorial Day.

RATH: Likewise. So, there are a million ways in which I'm happy that I was done with dating by the time that Facebook and other kind of social media came on the scene. You know, people have to deal with breakups and deleting all those posted happy couple photos. But for people who aren't settled down and don't want to cramp their style on social media, there's an answer. Tell me about the social media prenup.

WATSON: What an absolutely genius idea. So the idea is that for all the folks who post photos on Facebook or Instagram of their love affair and their great relationship, when it goes south, there should be some way to say, you know what, the really intimate stuff you can't just post and release. You can't bomb me in the way, and so the idea is up front to do what Kanye suggests that we all do, which is to get a prenup, but this time for social media.

RATH: And, you know, it could be a serious thing, 'cause you mentioned things that are fairly intimate. You know, there's a horrible thing now, revenge porn, when people are posting very intimate pictures of their exes as a way to get back at them.

WATSON: Very much so. You know, there are about a half dozen states legislatures that have been looking at passing laws to restrict the amount of this kind of social media revenge that can happen. And so this idea of upfront discussing a social media prenup, I think, is a creative one.

And a marriage and family therapist couple down in L.A., Sheri Meyers, and her partner who came up with it, one of things they've been advising is to have this conversation early, such that when you do come up with an interesting photo, an interesting love note, even in that moment, you can say, hey, let's be clear. This is a social media prenup moment so that everyone's really clear about that.

RATH: Now, when we're talking about prenups, are we talking about an actual legally binding document?

WATSON: Not talking about a legally binding document at the moment. They're saying save the money on the lawyers. But they're saying that the informal agreement is important, or they're pointing the way, of course, not surprisingly, to a couple of apps, one which is called Couple, and the other which is called Avocado, which can be part of the enforcement mechanism for saying that post-breakup this content that we once used to share, you can only get access to it if we both agree.

RATH: So something else you can worry about when you're posting something on your smartphone is that we might actually be in danger of running out of the key components used to make smartphones. Those are the rare earth minerals. But Carlos, the answer may lie where?

WATSON: It may lie on the ocean's floor, some 15,000, 20,000 feet below sea level. As you were saying, most smartphones include about 17 rare earth minerals. You usually can't pronounce the names of them, things like erbium and dysprosium and thulium.

But the reality is that most have come from mines in China. There's an increasing shortage, plus the Chinese have been playing a little bit of hardball, first with Japan, and then with the U.S., not shipping some of it. And it's lead a number of people to look below the water for what are these kind of potato-looking rocks that contain some of these very valuable minerals.

RATH: Now, is there a reason that we hadn't found those before? Or is there an issue with getting to them?

WATSON: They had been discovered before, if you will, by some British scientists in the 19th century, but it was thought that it was going to be too difficult to extract. And most recently, particularly some of the German scientists, have come up with new processes to not only extract these rocks that have the minerals in them, but then get access to the minerals easier and cheaper than you otherwise would.

RATH: Carlos Watson is the co-founder of the online magazine Ozy. You can explore all of the stories we talk about at Carlos, thanks again.

WATSON: Arun, great to be with you.


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