Does “Facebook Official” mean anything anymore? According to Urban Dictionary (the most reliable source for all slang etymology) it used to be the statement released to your friends via Facebook that you are currently in a relationship. Everyone knows that, however, despite the term being used regularly in 2016, more and more people are avoiding letting their friends know if they’re in relationships.
It’s curious. A few years ago, the most exciting part of getting into a new relationship was letting everyone know about it to get those congratulatory likes from your nearest and dearest and seeing who among your friendship group doesn’t approve of your new shack-up.
Facebook was designed as a way to see who was dating who in college and has evolved since. The ‘relationship status’ function was Facebook’s most ingenious and cruel design feature. Not only could you see who was dating who but people could actively use it to dump their partners by declaring themselves ‘single’ – that’s colder than over text!
Changing your Facebook status became as significant of a relationship milestone as the first kiss, first fight and last fight. So what’s happened since?
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Facebook doesn’t look like what it used to. Instead of statuses, people transmit their feelings and interactions by sharing videos and tagging friends – we’re a lot less communicative now. Maybe the language has developed to be less direct or maybe we’re becoming more stingy with what information we want to share online.
A Buzzfeed reader poll revealed that 40% of twenty-something year olds wouldn’t broadcast their relationship status on Facebook.
Barbara Speed of NewStatesMan reasons: “One obvious answer is that everyone tries it once, in the first flush of romance, then never forgets the crushing social embarrassment of living out your break-up online” but maybe it isn’t as simple as that.
Facebook doesn’t share break-ups like it does new relationships – it’s isn’t that cruel. You can choose to go from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘nothing’ instead of letting the singles of the world that you’re back on their team. There’s also a feature that blocks you from your exes to ease the break-up period.
There’s no actual conclusion for why less and less people are sharing their relationships online but this writer would wager a guess and say it’s because Facebook has lost it’s novelty. Social media has become so immediate in 2016 and Facebook’s chokehold algorithm doesn’t hold up to how demanding we are for fresh news.
We use Facebook like a scrapbook that’s connected to everyone else’s scrapbooks too.
Your relationship is a personal status and a vulnerable one at that. Internet shaming is too common and too painful to risk it with a Facebook post just to prove a point to those girls in secondary school that gave you a hard time.