Thursday, August 5, 2010

Will you marry me (on Facebook)?

How many of your Facebook friends are listed as married?
Now, if you're in your teens, how many of them are ACTUALLY married?
That's what I thought.

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of "Facebook marriages" pop up. So-and-so is my wife on Facebook. After said relationship is made "Facebook official", a set of comments follow that include virtual marital fights, virtual pregnancies, virtual divorces, you name it. In fact, often times other sorts of relationships get involved as well, as the "couple" invites children into their family, setting up a whole web that covers all their friends.

I realize these marriages are meant to be harmless little games, just having fun and laughing together, or maybe making an artificial commitment to a real dating relationship. Regardless of what these marriages are meant to be, I think the subtle effect is making real marriage less powerful.

If you look at the things that generally occur in Facebook marriages, you see a pattern of fights and eventually, they change back to being single. Outside of Facebook, the two friends will probably be just fine. Even on Facebook, after their virtual divorce has gotten off the news feed, their relationship will go back to normal. However, I think treating online marriages like a joke will result in treating actual marriage like a joke. Which will result in a lot of the fake things happening on Facebook - marriage, adoption, divorce - happening in real life.

Am I right? (I could just be ranting about a personal pet peeve - but I think I'm right)