Originally uploaded by Theresa Thompson.
Facebook is great as a social networking site and a way to indulge scrabble addictions (in the absence of copyright violations and resultant lawsuits).
But Facebook is also where your privacy goes to die.
Painful experiences early on reinforced the life lesson, "If you don't want anything read, don't write it down". So just like on this site I'm very careful what information I put out there on Facebook. However, when it comes to relationships, I don't think it's necessary to hide whether you're seeing someone or you're not. It's no big deal and nobody really cares one way or the other when you get down to it. Your friends want the best for you, and if that is something you find with someone else (or not), then so be it. Right?
It seems Facebook disagrees. It seems Facebook wants everyone to find their special someone. And so it was that one day this week, me and KH were musing over email about how irritating it has been that we keep seeing dating advertisements on our Facebook sites. I agreed, suggesting that the "30 and STILL single?" banner heading was the one that grated with me the most. The caps were clearly intentional, which just irked me all the more. KH agreed wholeheartedly and suggested that the prominence of these advertisements was most likely linked to the fact that we had flagged ourselves as explicitly "single" in our Facebook profile's relationship status.
Ah-ha, we thought - let's do something about that. So I volunteered to change my status and instead of saying "single", I just left the space blank. But Facebook was not so easily outsmarted. The system generated an automatic message to each of my 139 friends, heralding that I was no longer single. And it tacked a love heart alongside the message, just for added kick.
The emails started, then the phone calls. Was I now loved-up? Who was this man, and why hadn't my friends met him? The power of Facebook was crazy. But my friends all understood and laughed, and agreed that the idea to outsmart Facebook had been a good one - in theory, anyway.
But Facebook was not done messing with me, and it exacted one last revenge. Figuring that I had now succeded in snagging myself a man, at over 30 I had better pull out all the stops to actually keep him. So instead of sending me dating advertisements, I was being bombarded with anti-wrinkle cream ads, promotions for cellulite-busters, and weight-loss recommendations by the hundreds.
Okay Facebook, you win this one. I'm back to being single and fabulous, and trying not let the "30 and STILL single?" banner get to me. Much.