Social Media

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

April 5, 2010

“Have you heard? John and Mary broke up.”

“How do you know?”

“She just updated her Facebook”

Believe it or not, this is how many people today find out about break ups and new relationships. With just a few clicks, you can make it ‘official.’

As Facebook continues to grow in both size and influence, more and more people are making their relationships public. While by no means is it a requirement to state who you are dating or if the relationship is ‘complicated,’ Facebook users feel the need to share it with others.

Facebook: Reality?

I remember once when someone told me that if it wasn’t on Facebook, it wasn’t official. While this may be just a saying, the truth is that Facebook has done such a good job of representing real-life relationships online, that for some, reality and online blur together.

While Facebook is far from close to replacing real-life relationships, perhaps this is the future of social networking sites. When you look at the success of online dating networks like eHarmony and, both of which have over 20 million registered users, the foundation of their success is rooted in their ability to leverage online connections and transform them into real ones.

A user on eHarmony doesn’t know what their potential ‘match’ looks like in person, but can develop an idea from pictures, video, and basic profile information. Similarly, on Facebook it is not uncommon for individuals to be friends with people they have never met before in person, yet converse and network with them as if they have.

While the comparison was made to dating networks, Facebook will never be a dating network. Facebook isn’t just about your love life, that is just a small portion of it.

[Name] Is No Longer Listed As Single

Another relationship starts, another one ends. That is the cycle. No one is alarmed anymore when someone becomes single it seems, but that is what happens when your community is built around sharing what used to be private information reserved only for those close to you. It’s not uncommon for you to run into someone at the market whom you haven’t seen in 5 years, yet seemingly know everything about them. Still, you wouldn’t dare say or ask about details you’ve read about them on Facebook for fear of being called a stalker, but would rather ask questions about things you already know the answers too.

Facebook continues to change the way we interact and network with others. As more and more information becomes available to others, the question then becomes, when the time comes for you to update your Facebook Relationship status, what will you choose?

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  • Reply Mars April 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I noticed that with updating Facebook Status, at least within my friend list, the trend has come to a halting point where almost everyone stops updating it altogether or just putting up their status as ‘married’ to his/her best friend.

    No one takes it seriously anymore.

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