While I’m sure that Facebook has methodically catalogued my every move since since signing up for their service, I have no recollection of when or why I joined Facebook. I vaguely recall toggling between Myspace (back when I had a Myspace account) and Facebook for a bit, but I am at a loss in terms of pinpointing exactly when Facebook came up on top in terms of my personal usage. I’ve posted everything from pictures, videos, news stories and quotes on my Facebook page. And yes, back when I was a Facebook novice, I used to send people requests to feed my virtual Facebook fish and water my long since dead Facebook garden. Facebook has enabled me to find friends I haven’t spoken to in years, along with develop friendships with people whom I share interests with. Even though the pace of my Facebook interaction has slowed down considerably, I still manage to post an occasional quote and “like” a friend’s picture and/or profile status.
One thing that has never changed on my Facebook page is my relationship status. From whatever date I first signed onto to Facebook and now, my relationship status has always been single. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to change from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook. Would the change in my relationship status garner some “likes,” comments and/or Facebook inbox messages, or would it just be another blip on the Facebook news feed? How serious of a relationship would it have to be for me to change my relationship status to “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook? Is the change in relationship status something to be discussed with my significant other prior to clicking on save? Is sharing a change in relationship status something that I would feel comfortable sharing with the majority of my Facebook community, not to mention all of the 3rd party apps that have access to my profile? While I pour over the potential ramifications of going from “single” to “in a relationship” on Facebook, others seemingly have no issue going from “in a relationship” to “single” on Facebook with an added bonus of breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook. In a CNET article written by Chris Matyszczyk, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57323837-71/one-third-have-broken-up-by-facebook-text-or-e-mail-survey/, Matyszczyk reports on a study conducted by market researchers at Lab 42 which found that 33% of the people surveyed have broken up with someone via text, e-mail, or Facebook. 52% of people who have changed their status to “in a relationship” to “single” record that status change immediately, while only 38% of those surveyed changed their status to “in a relationship” when, as Matyszczyk writes, they have found someone “fresh, new, and willing.” Additionally, among the 45% of the people surveyed who identify themselves as being in happy relationships say that they primarily communicate via Facebook message.
Depending upon the circumstance, breaking up with someone is generally a gut- wrenching exercise most would rather avoid, not advertise. Fear of hurting your significant others feelings, mixed in with the sad reality that your relationship is over, is what typically makes breaking up with someone undesirable. I couldn’t imagine logging onto my Facebook account, writing a pithy “It’s over” on my boyfriend’s wall, then moving onto the business of sifting through friends pictures and profile status updates, all the while periodically getting updates on how many people have liked, commented and/or shared my wall post. I suppose someone could argue that if the relationship that is being ended was not a particularly serious one, then leaving such a wall post is fine to which I would strongly disagree. Courtesy, civility, and respect are not contingent on the length of time two people have been dating, nor are they contingent upon the perceived nature of the relationship.
In an era where the number of Facebook friends and status updates one shares is esteemed above all else, courtesy, civility and respect seem to have gone the way of dial- up. The willingness and ability to communicate face to face with one another is being lost in a sea of texts, e-mails, tweets, and Facebook messages. Truthfully, in many regards, it is more comfortable and efficient to deal with an electronic method of communication rather than a face to face interaction. Personally, I often find text messaging to be a more efficient and fluid means of communication. But no matter how tempting it may be to limit the bulk of my conversations to text messaging, I know that to do so would lead to the loss of that part of my soul that is able to empathize with others. I don’t want to sacrifice the ability and privilege to love, laugh, cry, and hurt with friends, family, and future boyfriends to a text message, and I certainly never want to find myself in a place where I would ever even consider breaking up with someone via Facebook.