Published Fri, Feb 15, 2013 6:41 pm Dateline
As millions around the country honored their loved ones on Facebook Thursday, an Athens couple who just celebrated their first Valentine's Day as a married couple is honoring the major role that Facebook played in shaping their love story.
Mike and Deanna Straw met for the first time in 2010 at a novel writing club at an Athens coffee shop.
"[Deanna] was fun and friendly, and we had a good time. We all had good banter. We just talked a lot, and so that was kind of my first impression. I was kind of clueless as to any kind of intentions until later," said Mike.
Mike said it wasn't until a year later that their friendly encounter escalated into more, and the couple has an earthquake and a social media website to thank for that.
"It was the day the big earthquake happened in Virginia. We felt it [in Athens]. Deanna posted on her Facebook [that] she didn't feel it, but her mom [did]," said Mike. "So, I posted a smart-aleck remark saying something about being completely numb, and she didn't get the Pink Floyd reference. So, of course I harassed her back, and we started picking on each other and then from that, things kind of went from there."
If the earthquake didn't shake things up enough for the couple, Mike's marriage proposal on Facebook did.
Mike said he proposed to Deanna by posting an animated message on her Facebook wall. She saw the message in front of friends and family at a surprise engagement at the coffee shop where they first met. Just more than a year later, the couple tied the knot.
"I think [Facebook] will always be a warm fuzzy place because that's how we reconnected. That was the tool which he used to propose. So I do think it's pretty special for us in that regard," said Deanna.
While Facebook is an important tool for millions around the world, the Straws say it has literally changed their lives.
"I think that we probably would have at least reconnected during the [writing convention], but I don't know that it would have become what it did if it weren't for Facebook," said Deanna. "I don't know that I would ask him out face to face."
Just about six weeks since their wedding, the couple said they continued their social media romance on Valentines Day.
"I posted a fun e-card for her. Then we kind of spammed each other's walls with sweet nerd humor," Mike said.