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Trapped in the net

Nathan Bransford (via SMH) | March 5, 2013
Thanks to social media there's no hiding from a marriage breakup, writes children's book author Nathan Bransford.

"It's all out there. The internet makes it almost impossible to cover your tracks" … author Nathan Bransford.

"It's all out there. The internet makes it almost impossible to cover your tracks" … author Nathan Bransford. Photo: Getty Images (posed by a model)

A couple of years ago, as my first novel was being published and I was starting a new career, I was also dealing with one of the hardest stretches of my life due to an unexpected divorce.

The divorce particulars won't break new ground in the genre, and I don't pretend my experience is any more or less painful than what others have gone through. But in the era of Facebook, Twitter, Google, email and blogs, this literally isn't your parents' divorce any more. Thanks to the internet there are things we never before had to confront, and no road map on how to get through. The essentials of divorce may be the same, but the digital landscape new divorcees encounter is new and deeply strange.

Lest you think the peculiar challenges of getting divorced in the internet era are limited to the highly connected, I should say I've never really lived my life in public. My net presence is devoted almost entirely to my professional life, and while I might peel back the curtain to flaunt my horrific taste in television shows, my day-to-day life has mostly been off limits.

I never even told the internet I was getting married in 2008, but when I announced on my blog that I would be featuring guest posts for a few weeks, one anonymous commenter guessed that I was going on my honeymoon. Then another managed to find (and link to) my gift registry, which I hadn't even realised was online. I deleted those comments, but "Nathan Bransford Wedding" became the second most-searched term involving my name, a position it has bizarrely occupied ever since. ("Nathan Bransford Divorce" has risen to #3 on Google, despite my never having mentioned the divorce online.)

Shortly after our marriage, my then wife started a blog that chronicled our real life. Despite being uncomfortable blurring our public and private spheres, I linked to her and mentioned her by name. My private life was creeping online, anyway. It seemed futile to resist the semi-public nature of the web, which was fine until my marriage unravelled.

 

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