Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook Relationship Status Updates are a Free-For-All Invitation for People to Poke Their Noses Into Your Life

***Note: This isn't really important. In fact it's a little bit like a rant. A rant about the silly things that we do online.

Facebook is one of those things that can be very useful in some respects, but for every positive feature there are about five negative ones. And one of the most annoying of all these is the fact that the site is basically there for people to display to others what is going on in their lives. Well, okay so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until you have young people and teenagers on there that insist on letting everyone know absolutely everything, and making everything public as though everyone cares about every aspect of their lives (see how insane that sentence ended up being? Well that’s how I feel about it). And truly, nobody seems to care about a lot of this stuff that is posted incessantly by others anyways.

That is, until it is a change in relationship status; this is the moment where the tiny invitation into your life that is Facebook becomes wrenched wide open and everyone wants to comment and get the scoop on it, even though as people we should know that relationships are private entities between two people. At least they should be.

I’m sure you know how it goes? You’re just scrolling through your newsfeed when “Bam!” Someone is in a new relationship. And what do you see? Comments, comments, comments, many of which are depicting squeals of delight and excitement. And you wonder, “Do these people actually care about this person? Do they even know who they are now dating? Do they comment on anything on any other kind of post on this person’s page?” Typically what I do is think to myself, “Oh that’s interesting” and just move right along. I mean, sure, if it’s a close friend I might “like” it, but I will probably talk to them about it in private, not on some webpage where anyone and everyone can read what I’m saying about this person or relationship. And what about the person who you are now dating? What if they see all these people and think, “Well I’ve never met any of them, who are they?” I don’t know, it just seems strange to me.

And on the other side of that coin, there are those times when someone’s relationship status changes to “single” or they are “no longer in a relationship”. And what do you see? Comments, comments, comments, asking, “Are you okay hon?” or “Text me if you need to talk”. And let me tell you, there is nothing more irritating than that patronizing “hon” thrown in there, especially from someone who you rarely talk to. And obviously if that person needs to talk someone, they know who to text, aka those people they are actually close with and can maybe shed some insightful light on the situation. Why would I text someone or talk to them about my breakup when they aren’t even an important part of my life? It’s like they just want to know the details because they are being nosy, don’t you think?

The most telling thing about this kind of situation are those funny times when you are just messing around with your account settings and it accidentally comes up on your newsfeed that you are “now single”, even though you weren’t in a relationship to begin with (seriously though, this has happened to friends of mine on more than one occasion). And yet, people still comment, as though you weren’t in fact single before that moment. And you think to yourself, “If you don’t know me well enough to know that I wasn’t actually dating someone, then you definitely don’t deserve to ask me about all the details of the nonexistent breakup.” A lot of the time these people choose not to put up their relationship statuses because they don’t think it’s anyone’s business. Yet nothing more than a simple change in settings can set off a whole group of people who think that it really should be their business. (Shame on you, Facebook gossip lovers; I may love my gossip, but I do it the old-fashioned, non-technological way.)

The thing about these situations, however, is that most of the time, the people sticking their noses in to comment are people that you may be acquainted with --and thereby don’t remove as a "friend"--, but besides that, your interactions with one another are almost non-existent. Yet when something juicy happens in regards to a new man or woman in your life --or a loss of one--, they are all over that, wanting to know who he is, or if you need a shoulder to cry on. It’s just a really funny thing I think. You want to say to them, “Why do you care?” But then again, why post about your relationship if you don’t want people to care? 
Maybe it’s all just another lesson on thinking hard about what you want to put online about yourself, especially if you are concerned with how others might react, whether positive or negative.

I think maybe a lot of this is in my mind, yet a lot of the time this is all proven to be typical behavior of Facebook users. At least, in regards to my own internet “friends” it is. Seriously, guys, can you stop perpetuating stereotypes for just one day of your lives?

But what do you think about all of this? 
Have you also noticed people acting like sharks in a feeding-frenzy when they see a change in a relationship status, or is it just me and my young(er) friends who fall victim to this?