Facebook sneakily introduced new couples pages this week and after reading an article by NZ Herald reporter and former SPASIFIK journo, Vaimoana Tapaleao, it got the team thinking about how we’re being affected by the social networking giant. Karl Samuel shares his view in our latest blog post.
Facebook couples pages, get lost!
Today I stumbled across social networking’s latest ‘cyber tool’ for stripping down the ‘private individual’: Couples Facebook pages!
For the past few months Facebook has slowly introduced new tools and features to make ‘info-sharing’ more irresistible than ever to already drugged-up social networking junkies around the globe.
First, Facebook introduced the new Timeline, which enabled users to organise and catalogue their ‘digital lives’ by days, months and even years.
Then, there was the live side bar that gave everyone a play-by-play commentary on what all their friends were liking, tagging, and commenting on in real-time.
Now, there’s couples Facebook pages, and I’m inclined to agree with the blogger who wrote: “I want to vomit.”
Of all blogs and newspaper articles I’ve read about this sneaky development I’ve observed two main concerns most people share about Facebook’s new endeavour.
That is, couples Facebook pages are both ‘cutesy’ and ‘spooky’.
Most people gag at the sight of public displays of affection. In my opinion they’re okay, but only to a certain point. Holding hands or hugging in public is all fine with me, but when holding hands turns into a full-on tongue fest and hugs become a game of ‘hide-and-go-seek’, that is when these ‘cutesy’ couples become vomit-worthy.
In an online setting, Facebook’s new couples pages are a perfect example of crossing that line. I didn’t mind seeing a simple relationship status on a friends page showing whether they were single or not, but to have a lovey-dovey joint page detailing every mutual like, friend, tagged photo and overweening comment is just more information than anyone using Facebook for ‘normal’ reasons actually needs.
Then there’s the point of individuality. I’m of the view that when you’re in a relationship it’s important to maintain your individual identity, even though I admit relationships come with a degree of ‘union’. Being a couple though, doesn’t mean you have to share every friend, thought, or experience.
As one overseas blogger, Jennifer Wright, put it: “I do not think that being a couple turns you into a stick figure with a hybrid thought process.” Although I’m sure you cutesy couples out there would like to remind us that you complete each other’s sentences.
On the other hand, if anything turns Facebook’s new couples pages into a ‘necessary evil’ it would be that it rids us of ‘combined profiles’, where the cutesy couple in question hi-jacks an individual profile page intended for just one person and sticks a ‘cutesy’ label on it something along the lines of: Dave n Kim or Jackie luvs Chris (gag).
There’s nothing worse than sending a message to your mate only to receive a reply from his smarmy and controlling girlfriend. At least now, there’s no need for this and the cutesy couple can have their combined page while still maintaining their individual profiles.
Couples Facebook pages also become ‘spooky’ when you actually stop to think about privacy.
We shouldn’t forget that Facebook is a public company now and that Mark Zuckerberg and his cronies are under huge pressure from Wall Street to make it profitable.
We all reckon Facebook is an awesome, readily accessible online tool. It is, for the most part. But think about it. Do you really think someone would let millions of people around the world use something for FREE without any sort of incentive?
Sure there’s advertising dollars, but the real pay-off for these corporate fat cats is our personal information.
When Facebook introduced the new Timeline, didn’t you think it was weird that all your past activity (from the moment you joined Facebook) had suddenly resurfaced? Before the Timeline came along, most people naively thought old comments and posts simply got deleted automatically.
Facebook records every last detail. What you thought was free is being paid for with the gigabytes of data being collected about you. Facebook probably knows you better than you know yourself.
Apparently they think so too, and that’s why they’ve taken the liberty of creating a single profile for two individual people – whether they like it or not – automatically curating a couples’ online relationship be it good, bad or ugly.
If you thought there was any autonomy in facebooking, think again.
Your new couples profile will showcase: every status update in which you’ve mentioned your partner, the entire collection of photos that you both are jointly tagged in, a list of your mutual friends, events you have attended together and a list of every combined ‘like’ (which may or may not reveal just how much in common you both have.)
New tools and features are cool, but what usually gets people rioting in the streets is being forced to do things in a prescribed way and it seems Facebook is becoming less and less discrete about how they want you to behave.
Do you agree? What’s your view on Facebook’s new couples pages?