Monday, February 21, 2011

When Networking gets ASSy

It says a lot that people assume you're single if you don't have a FB relationship status up.

It’s firstly interesting that people will assume you’re embarrassed to be single. Because obviously, your only motivation to remove a relationship status altogether would be your utter mortification at being alone. And therefore undesired, unwanted, unsexy...

Social Networking has brought with it a plethora of issues. Privacy, access to information, connectivity - all in good and bad ways. But it’s also brought a big, fat wave of assumption. Facebook’s a good example because it’s designed around you as a person, unlike Twitter which is more about your ramblings. Facebook has all that inside info, should you choose to give it, of course. You look good in your profile pic: people will assume you always look good. They might then peruse through all your photos and discover you’re actually a sasquatch with a small head, but the initial assumption is there. Your education might be a University - people will assume you’re somewhat clever. Whether or not you finished your degree. They might also assume you’re ‘less’ intelligent if you’ve got one or other college there, or a technikon. But people make these assumptions mostly subconsciously.

The one assumption they will overtly be aware of - and may even have a discussion about - is that good ol’ relationship status.
Wilma: “Hey Petrus, it can laak to say year (here) vat Carol are single.”
Petrus: “Vat are strange hey, Wilma, coss she can laak to be pretty.”
Wilma: “I fink it are becoss she are a lekker slet.”
Petrus: “Ya. Moerse hoer.”

And so it goes. Similarly, if you ARE in a relationship all official-like on FB, and you include your other half in that whole “Kelly is IN A RELATIONSHIP with JACOBUS KOMSKIETTER”, people will click on Jacobus’ profile to garner as much information as they can without having to be friends with him. People are nosy little fuckers, and it’s the sole reason any of us bloody HAVE Facebook anymore: the voyeurism. So don’t be surprised at how much people know when you see them at your high school reunion.

Psychologically, it does indeed say a lot about us as human beings. And it’s more than just about being inquisitive, or competitive even. As much as we fight it, to a degree we will always value ourselves according to our desirability. We will always need some kind of confirmation from another person, that not only tells us that we’re worth our occupied space, but tells all 500 of our Facebook friends that we are too. That’s why a lot of people DO hide their relationship statuses, and then suddenly one day it pops up! *POOF!* “Gloria Harmse is IN A RELATIONSHIP with Koos vd Doos”. And for those of us who do look at relationship statuses as a gratifying “proof of quality” stamp, it’s a cock contest. “That bitch from high school doesn’t have one up, that means she must be single ‘cause she is such a total bitch whore bitch ha! I’m better than her.” Or, “oh GOOOD that stupid ho is married now? I knew she could never cope on her own, she’s so co-dependant.” And “Baby number THREE on the way? What a barefoot in the kitchen cop-out! I’m so glad I’m an independent woman who wanted more from life than a man and a family.” - You KNOW you’ve done it. So shurrup. We use this voyeuristic outlet as a gauge of our own success. Because for a lot of people, they need to feel better than someone else to feel like they’ve achieved.

There’s also another side: the angry relationshippers who use the Facebook officiality as punishment for their straying lovers. I’ve seen people go from “in a relationship” to “single” three times in a week. Oh ya, you showed him, honey. You TELL the world you’re single! Oi.

And for some, it is just that point where it’s simply none of anybody’s fucking business. I don’t have a relationship status up on Facebook. And ya, to a point it’s to avoid that nosiness and invasiveness that comes with being Facebook friends with a lot of people you don’t know. But for me, mostly, it’s that horrifying point that you might get to when/if that relationship you’ve so openly declared ends. Because Facebook doesn’t let you just remove your status, oh no no. In all the timelines, this is what pops up: “Yvette is no longer in a relationship.” Or if you’re brave enough, you just change it back to that “single” status. And the crassness of people never fails to amaze me in those comment boxes:

“Ooooh my gaaad Yvette, what happened? are you okaaaay?”
“Aaah fuck him doll! Let’s get drunk”

Erm, kids, if you were important enough to know what happened, she’ll have told you. That, or you’ll find out in time. What part of lazily commenting on an FB update conveys true sympathy?

I remember when I removed my FB relationship status. I’d only been on FB for about six months when I realised that at some point, that little tab was going to be a problem. So I removed it, and up it popped in my friends’ timelines: “Kim is no longer listed as single”. Not, “Kim removed her relationship status”. No, no, Zuckerberg, that would be far too honest. I was also very casually making out with some dude at the time, and when I went out that night I had about seven people who could bearly hold back their sprint to ask me if he and I were dating “officially”. Fuck, I mean firstly he was the world’s most giant douche. Not the dickhead, jackass kind. The passionless, wet, boring as a plastic bottle kind. And secondly, some of those people rushing to inquire were good friends. Wouldn’t I have told them already? Or beforehand? It’s a crazy little abyss we’ve opened.

Back to it then: doesn’t it say a lot about us? Yes it does. In my case, it says I don’t need to add to the heartbreak of a finished relationship with flippant and plainly stupid questions about it. Or, for that matter, the dumb comments if I was to put it up. Such as, “Ohmaagaaad, WHO?!” In others, it says we want to validate our need to be needed and wanted. Or that we simply love that person and want to share that with everyone. Our intentions are pretty subconscious and innocent when putting information up on Facebook. But never underestimate the conclusions that will be jumped to, and the assumptions made. That was the deal, folks. And while I’m on a soap box I shall graciously request that you avoid those in-your-face lovey-dovey statii. Followed by the ever-vaguer hate comments when shit goes awry. You look like a tit.


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