Around eight o'clock the other night my eldest son announced, very matter-of-factly, on Facebook that he was 'now in a relationship with L', a certain young lady from Donegal. I knew he had met her about two months previously and that they had been, as they used to say in the old days, stepping out.
An hour after his Facebook posting I happened to be speaking to him on the phone about his imminent departure for New York, to where his work will take him for the next couple of years.
"You and L are getting serious,'' I quipped, and we left it at that.
Two hours later my iPhone flashed up an updated post from Facebook.
My son and the girl from Donegal had ended their relationship. She was, he said, and I quote, "wrecking my head". She countered, and I quote, "he was wrecking my head''.
Regardless of who was wrecking whom, this had to be one of the shortest relationships known to Man, and I fell to temptation and sent a post saying: Is this some sort of malware or what ...?
It was my daughter, ever the smart one, who replied to my posting and said: You don't understand Dad, you meet on Facebook, you start a relationship on Facebook, you meet each other's family and friends on Facebook, and you break up on Facebook. That's life.
And I thought, Mark Zuckerberg has a lot to answer for.
But I knew my son was not alone in airing his personal life, so nonchalantly, on social media. He's in good company.
Bad boy Russell Brand announced his and Katy Perry's divorce on Twitter and she subsequently pulled the plug on their Twitter relationship, shrinking her list of follows to 83. The pop star is still one of the 78 tweeters Brand follows, but probably just because he hasn't logged on in some time. Stay tuned, as they say in these parts.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher broke up on Twitter before announcing their divorce. The actor stopped following his then-wife and she also quit his feed. But, wouldn't you know it, they both then started to follow each other's feed again and continue to do so. Worth noting: the bold Demi took her time before changing her Twitter handle from @mrskutcher, but perhaps doing so eventually was more hassle than it was worth. There's a Luddite lurking in most of us
And then there was that whole threesome-thing on social media between Rory and Heartbroken Holly and Caroline Wozniacki.
Celebrities, have they no shame?
There is a serious side to all this. Facebook is a powerful and often addictive online tool. Users often have hundreds of 'friends' linking to their profile, and privacy issues can easily be overlooked.
The experts tell us that relationships can face added stress, greater pressure and more arguments with a public Facebook status. For many partners, a change of Facebook relationship status can become a serious issue. Whether publicly acknowledging a new relationship - going from 'single' to 'in a relationship' - or breaking-up, the psychological effect, it is said, should not be underestimated.
According to a study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers - only in America could you have such a set-up - more than 80% of the divorce lawyers polled have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases using social networking evidence.
It makes perfect sense, of course. How often do you 'Facebook creep' your significant other? How frequently do you check out their Twitter timeline? Do you log on to see their new connections on LinkedIn or MySpace?
And so on ...
Liking someone's photo or sending them a 'direct message' on Twitter are both ways to reach someone in a secretive way online. AIM and Facebook Chat also offer a way to chat privately. "Social media has changed the way infidelity is discovered. With spying, posing as someone else and countless other ways individuals have schemed to discover infidelity, the possibilities are endless," says one psychotherapist of my aquaintance. And if you're unfortunate in finding discrepancies in your partner's online behaviour, you then have to deal with the issue of breaking up publicly. Breaking up is so very hard to do (as the Walker Bros lamented) and now social networking has made it, how shall I put it, even messier. Before these sites, when you broke up with your significant other that was it. You didn't have to see tagged photos, the 'single' status, or deal with the messy 'defriending' business.
It seems an appropriate and accepted online etiquette has yet to be determined for the dilemmas of online breakups.
In my days when 'stepping out' if the young one wanted it over, you were left standing like a half-eejit under the Albert Clock, or in my case under Clery's Clock in Dublin's O'Connell Street, and you skulked off home, hands deep in pockets, coat collar turned up, hoping you hadn't been spotted standing there for over an hour like some demented fool.
Trust me son, you're better off without that lassie from Donegal. And there's always New York ....