Is Facebook breaking relationship boundaries? Since the birth of social media, relationships have become defined by the way in which those in a relationship conduct themselves online. No site has created more of an impact than Facebook. While couples have the option of officiating their relationship with a Facebook declaration, they can also fall victim to the perils that come with snooping. Thanks to several Facebook features that allow users to chronologically categorise their relationship and snoop on their significant other, the social networking site has begun to break several relationship boundaries.A guest post by Neil Keifer
Today, it is not unusual for a couple to be questioned over why they have not made their relationship 'Facebook official'. To some, the idea of officiating their relationship through the use of Facebook is ridiculous. For others, it is an absolute necessity that determines whether or not the other person is serious about them. This can become problematic; if one person feels uncomfortable with an official declaration of love for the benefit of the rest of the world, and the other views it as being a way to establish trust, arguments can soon erupt. Regardless of how important a change in status is for those who are in a couple, other Facebook features have made snooping and spying easy.
Closely following the idea that you can be Facebook official is the concept of Facebook stalking. This somewhat worrying art form involves snooping on what another person has been doing using several of the site's features. The ticker that was introduced last year, relationship tracker, and categories of friends have made it easier to see what your partner used to get up to, as well as what they are doing now.
The Facebook ticker is a live feed that allows users to see what others on their friends list are doing on the site. For example, if your friend Mr. Smith posts a status about his day at work, it will feed through your ticker. This may seem harmless enough, but it will also allow you to see when somebody has liked a photo, and other similar activities. If one person sees another click 'like' on a photo that belongs to somebody remotely attractive, this can be quite the argument causer. The ticker did have the potential to cause others to engage in constant page watching, but Facebook's friends categories feature prevented the need for users to do that. By placing a person under the 'close friends' category, and enabling notifications, you can be notified each time they do something. With such features, it is no wonder couples are experiencing Internet-induced rows.
To amplify the problem, Facebook's relationship tracker has made it possible to pry into the relationships of others. As any avid Facebook user will know, any relationship change is marked with the gory details, as well as a heart. This garish display makes it instantly obvious to others what has happened, leading to a morbid ripple of commiserations and gossip.
All of Facebook's features have broken the boundaries of relationships in many respects. Prior to their release, you would never have known if your partner found someone else attractive -- a common occurrence that is often relatively innocent. Now, almost every like, click, and comment has the potential to cause drama. With snooping becoming a common practice, it remains to be seen just how many couples can withstand Facebook's impact on relationship boundaries.
Anne Lyken-Garner is a published, author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.