Thursday, November 23, 2006

CONS AND PROS OF FACEBOOK, PART ONE

CON: When you add someone to your friends list, you're somewhat obligated to add a detail about how you know them, and Facebook provides a list of about a dozen options. These options are both broad and limiting at the same time. For example, you could use the 'I went to college with so-and-so' for everyone, since the majority of Facebookers are your fellow students. Some people who are closer friends take up literally 9-10 of the options. The trick is finding the one thing to essentially sum up your relationship with a person when you have a couple of possible options. It could be social destruction to choose the wrong thing.

For example, say an ex lists you as friends through 'college' or 'we travelled to Mexico together' or 'we were both in the band.' Totally ignoring the 'we used to date' option. What do you make of this? A purposeful revision of the past? A desire to remember the good times rather than the bad? One could drive themselves mad wondering about the possibilities. Or, they could learn the answer to those questions and more by turning in next week on Soap.

Then again, this is assuming people care who's on their Facebook friends list. I have people I can't stand, people I have met maybe once, and people I've never met on my friends list just because I'm too much of a wuss to delete them or deny the claim. There should be a second layer of Facebook relationship -- can't some people be acquaintances, instead of full-blown friends? This will come back to hurt someone in a court case some day.

"Ok, Mr. Jones, you claimed you didn't know the victim very well. Then why were you on his Facebook Friends list?!"
"I swear, I met him once at a party! We talked for maybe five minutes!"
"Did you talk about stabbing him to death with a sharpened copy of a Boyz II Men album?"
"No, I swear!"
"Aha! 'I Swear' is a Boyz II Men track! I rest my case!"

PRO: Ever since Facebook decided to add 100 new features that turned the site from a nice way to catch up with people into a semi-creepy stalker site, I must admit it's made it very easy to keep track of people's lives. I'll admit it -- I'm very self-absorbed. I can't remember the particulars of your damn life. I can barely remember if I'm wearing boxer shorts or not. p.s. At the moment? Not. (pajama bottoms)

The most useful part is the relationship tracker. When a person is dating someone else, they can announce it to the world with 'So-and-so is in a relationship,' complete with a little heart icon. You can also make it say who you're specifically in a relationship with, though I've always been suspicious of the folks who don't do this. The probable reason is that they simply want to keep some privacy (what suckers), or their partner doesn't have a Facebook account, but my conspiracy theory is that it's a good way to weed out who is secretly unhappy with their dating life. Doesn't this sound like the kind of tiny thing that often sets off huge fights between couples?

"Hey, why don't you say you're in a relationship with me? I have a Facebook account."
"I dunno."
"What, are you ashamed of dating me?"
"What? No, I just didn't put it."
"Whatever."
"Oh, what, you're really mad about this?"
"Whatever."

And....scene. I sure used the word 'what' a lot. I'm like Steve Austin circa 2001.

Anyway, when a relationship ends, Facebook is ready for that too. The caption goes up "So-and-so is no longer in a relationship," complete with a hilariously blunt little broken-heart icon. On the plus side, this means I can keep track of who's dating who so I can avoid those unfortunate moments when I ask how someone's relationship is going, only to find out they broke up weeks ago. Publicly displaying one's painful emotional separation may be traumatic and embarassing, but look on the bright side -- at least it spares me some minor awkwardness.

NOT SURE IF IT IS A PRO OR CON: Back to the relationship status again. You can pick if you're dating, or if you're single. This should be enough, but there's also a broader range for what you're "looking for." This is normally fine and would be a pro, but then I found out my little cousin is into 'random play.' Good lord.

1 comment:

nico said...

Except that I Swear is actually by All-4-One.
For shame!
(Possibly on me, since I still own the album and the entire BoyzIIMen catalogue)