In what appears to be about the exact philosophical opposite to the public relationship performance art piece perpetrated by Julia Allison and Jakob Lodwick last year, serial conference speaker Chris Messina and new girlfriend Brynn Evans have explained their much geekier obsession with tracking their relationship metrics online — privately. It's a neat way to convince a reporter that you're on the bleeding edge of Web-era relationships. Something Messina has done very successfully over the years.Rather than rely on romantic intuition (which Messina all but admits horribly failed him in his last relationship with fellow conference-speaking professional Tara Hunt ), the two are now trying to suss out behavioral patterns that might indicate a cooling of interest. How do they do it? With websites that just happen to be eager for publicity.
In tracking everything they do in sites like BaseCamp, BrightKite and Bedpost, the new couple cultivates an early-adopter mystique. Bedpost even allows them to quantitatively analyze the frequency, duration and quality of their naughty bits-mingling. How romantic! The heart wants what it wants. And in Messina's case? Despite the news hook here being privacy, what his heart really wants is publicity. (Photos by Jyri Engestrom and César Astudillo)