There’s always something to be said about Facebook as a marketing tool or as a way to keep abreast of the latest world news, but let’s go back to basics for a moment. Essentially, Facebook is a social network centred on relationships. The phrase ‘in a relationship’ has gained popularity and gravity since the birth of this social network in particular as most of us, whether we care to admit it or not, place some level of importance on whether the person we’re dating has taken the step to make it ‘Facebook official’… and there’s that inevitable rush to be the first to change your status back to single when things go south!But that’s all very well, and complicated enough, for heterosexual individuals, who can choose whether they’re ‘single’, ‘in a relationship’, ‘married’, ‘divorced’, or that ever vague ‘it’s complicated’… I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. And one could argue that this really shouldn’t be any different for homosexual Facebook users – especially in our ever liberal world where there’s a good chance you could be legally married, whatever your sexual preference.
Be that as it may, Facebook has introduced two new same-sex-friendly relationship status options – after all, as Lady Gaga says, “A different lover is not a sin… I was born this way” – so why not broadcast exactly who you are online? The two new options? ‘In a civil union’ or ‘In a domestic partnership’.
And in other Facebook relationship news, have you heard of the Breakup Notifier? This app does exactly what its name suggests – notifies you when certain friends’ relationship status changes on Facebook. The tagline is: ‘You like someone. They’re in a relationship. Be the first to know when they’re out of it.’ The app got 700 000 hits in the first 36 hours after its launch.
There’s no doubt that Facebook has become a popular way to keep tabs on your contacts’ love lives – sometimes it’s the only source of this type of information, as hyped up and false as it may be. Facebook certainly adds some drama to our romantic lives, allowing us to live them like a soap opera while the rest of the virtual world watches. Of course, when you’re the dumpee, having that broken heart showing up on your news feed might be entertaining to everyone but you – and now with the Breakup Notifier, it will be even more public than ever before.
My take on it? Don’t take your virtual self, or anyone else’s, too seriously. It’s great that, with the inclusion of same-sex relationship statuses, everyone is able to be more themselves online than ever before. However, with that in mind, we should also consider firstly that this means there are real people with real emotions behind those online personas, and secondly, having said that, that the online world is a great way to have a bit of fun – and being married online might not mean the same to everyone as being married in the true sense of the word, offline.