Thursday, June 17, 2010
It's Complicated - the challenges of changing your Facebook status
I have been a lover of social media since it first came out, but even I recognize that there are some little issues you have to watch out for. One of those is the Facebook "relationship status" field.
Now for those of us that are single, it is kind of handy to know who else is single out there.. I haven't actually ever dated anyone that I met on Facebook, but I have done my fair share of checkin' out my friends' friends, with a little extra checking on those that are listed as single.
However, what some people don't know is that when you change that relationship status field, Facebook puts it there on your wall for all to see and comment on... and they do! Relationship status changes seem to get the most attention! So if you think you can just quietly change that little status field without a public announcement, think again!
Now, if you're moving "up" in relationship ranks (ie. from engaged to married) it's really quite nice to see all the happy notes of congratulations. The problem is when you move the other direction. One of my married friends recently changed his status from married to "it's complicated" not realizing that would be broadcast to all his friends. One typically does not want to announce "complications" in a marriage or a breakup of a relationship or engagement. What's even worse is when the partner reads about a complications or a breakup on Facebook before you've actually told them!
Then there's the whole question of moving from single to "in a relationship." Personally, I'd avoid doing this unless I'm very, very sure the relationship will last (OK... that's right.. I never have moved it into the "in a relationship" status.)
Whoever thought changing your Facebook status could be such a big decision? I'm sure there are some couples who start dating and discuss the question... "Are we ready to take the next big step? Will you change your Facebook relationship status for me?"
No one has asked me to take that big leap into declaring commitment publicly but frankly, I was a little sick of "single status." I was constantly getting ads for "senior dating" sites which I'm guessing has something to do with me being old and single. So, the other day, as an experiment, I changed my relationship status to "it's complicated." I sort of think the "it's complicated" status applies to everything. Whether you're married or single, dating, or in a serious relationship... it's always complicated. I figured that was a good status to just remain "mysterious." Sure enough, I got a lot more attention with my relationship status change than I ever get from my typical status updates (I can't believe my friends aren't interested when I'm going for a run!) Most of the comments were supportive with a few people giving me the thumbs up that they "liked" that. They were probably thinking... "Finally, she is in a complicated relationship and she'll stop her moaning about being single!" One of my other friends called and said, "Sounds like you got laid!" Apparently he thinks the "It's complicated" status is code for "having sex." Yes, that would be the exact kind of thing I'd like to advertise to everyone.
Personally, I think there should be many more status's available. There could be Loser, Player, Needy, Trapped, Having an Affair, Too Old to Care, In Unrequited Love, Infatuated, Obsessed, Stalking, Flirting, and my favorite, In a Relationship With My Laptop... Come to think of it, I did create an account for "Laptop Guy." I'm tempted to change my relationship status to "in a relationship" with "Laptop Guy" just to see what kind of comments I get.
But not yet... For now, I'm feeling It's Complicated is a great catch-all.