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The Great Facebook Relationship Feeding Frenzy December 12, 2010

Posted by Onely in "Against Love"...?, Food for Thought, Just Saying., single and happy, Take action, Your Responses Requested!.
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Or, Your Relationship Status Is (Apparently) Everyone’s Business.

To the left, you see the results of a little experiment I conducted recently on Facebook (if the Spanish throws you off, my apologies! It’s how I learn other languages. And you get the point). I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time now: I’m always astounded by the amount of attention other people receive when they really are in new relationships (or engagements or marriages) and publicize the info on Facebook…

My hypothesis: Changing your relationship status on Facebook will garner more attention than anything else you’ve ever posted.

(Tentative) Conclusion: YES.

So I finally did it, and voila! Not only did my relationship-status-change draw the responses you see here (3 unqualified “likes” and 11 comments), but I also received three inquiries via text message, five private messages from friends wanting to know the “scoop,” and even one question about it at the end of an otherwise-serious phone call with my little brother. Considering I only have 130 “friends” on Facebook, that’s a pretty decent amount of attention — certainly much more than I’ve ever managed to solicit from anything else I’ve done on Facebook.

What’s more, two of the private messages were sent from friends who I haven’t seen or spoken to in the last six months, and although I replied graciously and honestly to their inquiries (I told them both it was a joke, sorry to disappoint (!!), told them a little bit about my current life and asked them about theirs), I haven’t heard from either of them since and it’s been almost a week. The message I’m getting from this silence? A relationship-status change is everyone’s business. And if you make it a joke, people will get angry.

It wouldn’t be fair, however, if I didn’t give kudos to many of my friends. You can probably guess from some of the published comments who knows about Onely and who doesn’t (see Carrie, Lisa [not me], Paulina and Kimberly). What’s more, some of the private messages and texts I received were from close friends who actually know me in my everyday life and imagined it was a joke but wanted to be sure I wasn’t hiding a secret life from them.

The problem is, this experiment is flawed because my FB friend base is biased (my real-life FB friends know about and appreciate my pro-single status), and some of them even knew I was thinking about the experiment in advance.

So I’m hoping that you, Copious Readers, will be willing to add to the data by conducting the experiment on your FB pages and report the results here (if we get enough of a response, I’ll write a follow-up post about it).

Here’s what I’d like to know:

1. # of unqualified “likes”

2. # of comments

3. # of private emails/messages

4. # of text messages

5. # of phone calls

6. OTHER responses

Give it at least 24 hours before reporting the data here (I got a text about it yesterday and it’s been almost a week).

Also, a caveat: If you choose to participate, be sure to have a plan for how (or if) you’ll tell your friends that it’s just an experiment — no reason to burn bridges if you don’t think it’s worth it. And also, you might think in advance about whether or not you’ll change your relationship status back to “single” later (right now, my status is “it’s complicated” – a change I made the day after I first updated my status).

I’m looking forward to your thoughts and responses!

— Lisa


1. Singles Empowerment Workshop | Your Life Is A Garden - March 14, 2011

[…] more acceptable: There is no obvious way to categorize people anymore (maybe that’s where Facebook comes in?). Nevertheless, the category “single” comes with tons of negative messages […]

2. Facebook: Scourge of the Onelers, Part 1 « Onely: Single and Happy - May 4, 2011

[…] would “garner more attention than anything else I’d ever posted.” And it did. In her post describing the experiment on Onely, she explains: Not only did my relationship-status-change draw three unqualified “likes” and […]

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