All of this “elegant and kind” agonizing could be spared by not using Facebook.
Because before Facebook, nobody had to tell their friends about breakups, nor did friends feel awkward about how to handle their friendships to both people?
Not in my social circle.
I read this article as an amusing piece of contemporary anthropology. It was completely entertaining because I know absolutely zero people who behave like this in real life. Well, at least the people I know who have graduated from high school, but I suppose this kind of agonizing is more common among our high school aged children. It also reads like a combination of a 1990s etiquette guide for AOL combined with an article from Cosmopolitan or some similar magazine. Keep up the great stuff BoingBoing!
Facebook introduces two differences from the old ways of communicating with friends and acquaintances.
There is an expectation of frequent specific status updates about your life.
The updates are essentially one-size-fits-all.
As a result, Facebook users begin to act like the PR department of a business. There has to be a coherent, consistent, anodyne, and vaguely uplifting official line about any event affecting the company. This requirement is completely an artifact of Facebook. Its business model feeds on interactions among users on the broadest possible scale, not on nuanced communications between individuals.
I guess the closest precedent for this is the Christmas Letter – not the most elegant and kind model, either.
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