I happened to be browsing the ‘Current Events’ section of the interweb and came upon another article on Facebook. Despite the fact that this social site has basically taken over my life due to Scrabulous, I sometimes wonder at what other people are doing with/on it. I mean, if you don’t have about half your work day to squander playing online, when do you find the time for this stuff? Of course, many users are young college students with plenty of time to squander. Still, I was quite surprised at the article, which focuses on relationships and Facebook as the real way to know you’re in one. Interesting.
I understand the appeal of Facebook as a means to keep in touch with people. It’s great for keeping up ties if you’re living far from your friends, or extended family. It offers a variety of services (such as ‘events’ or ‘notes’ or ‘mini-feed’) that allow users to keep up on the happenings and mundane details of a range of acquaintances. It’s a tool that begs to be used. But at the same time, like other innovations of the internet, it allows communication to become increasingly indirect. When you can avoid discussing being in a relationship and what that implies by simply posting it on Facebook and waiting for a confirmation, that’s not necessarily a good thing. It reverts our social growth to the note-passing we did in middle school to ask people out, fearful of a direct rejection. It dehumanizes a part of what should be a close and personal bond between two people.
I must admit, I was only recently aware that the ‘in a relationship with______’ function required authentication form the other party. I had changed my status sometime last year to reflect that I was serious about Mike, and then promptly put the whole thing out of my head. He only recently accepted the modification, possibly because he’s one of those who is rarely on the site what with his ‘real job’ and all. What if I had been asking him out with that little change? Would the consequent lack of response spawned negativity and confusion? I hope not. After all, a relationship should at least be more serious than the click of a mouse.