Soper: ‘Facebook official’ is not that important

So you’re finally official with your significant other. Is it too soon to pop the question? And by question, I mean relationship request on Facebook. Do you bring it up or wait until the person you’re involved with brings it up? Or does it even matter? Some of my friends and I used to think something was wrong with our relationships if they weren’t listed on Facebook.

Yet, I happen to be one of the 27 percent of Facebook users who choose the unlisted option, even though I am in a relationship. According to a Men’s Health survey, half of those 27 percent of users who are unlisted are actually single.

I’m not opposed to being “Facebook official,” but I don’t think it is as important as it may seem. As the months go by and I see more and more, “Sally is now in a relationship with John,” I wonder if I should be showing off my relationship. But when I see updates like, “Justin is now single,” with all of the comments and likes, I’m relieved knowing I won’t ever have to do that if my current relationship does end.

There are 11 options for your relationship status on Facebook, covering nearly all of the statuses you may be in, but the real decision lies in whether you decide to click one of those options or to be unlisted. It took Mark Zuckerberg, a co-founder of Facebook, seven years of dating his girlfriend Priscilla Chan to change his relationship status online. If Zuckerberg didn’t need Facebook to back-up his relationship, I think it is safe to say that we don’t either.

But why is being “Facebook official” so important to some people? Your real friends already know, and by being “Facebook official” you’re only confirming to people who you talk to once a year that you are in a relationship. It shouldn’t be important that your great aunt’s friend’s daughter’s boyfriend knows you are, in fact, taken. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that having a relationship status on Facebook should not matter. If you and your significant other have made it clear to each other what you are then Facebook is not what makes it official.

We can’t deny that we do live in a generation that revolves around technology, and many people want Facebook to reflect their lives in the real world, including pictures depicting how much fun they’re having and check-ins showing the cool places they’re going. But where should that reflection stop? And where is the line between what we should and should not share with public? It is your choice to let technology be a part of your personal life. To be “Facebook official” or to not, the decision is yours, but take my advice and don’t make the “About” section on your Facebook more important than it should be.

  • Updated Jan. 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm
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