Facebook makes pledges ‘official’


Photo: Whitney Sager/Iowa State Daily

One of the first things newly engaged couples will do after he or she pops the “big question” is update their Facebook relationship statuses to “engaged.” This allows them to spread the news to all their friends in a short amount of time.

Laura Bucklin

In the past couple years, social media has changed the way we meet people, get to know others and express ourselves.

Relationship statuses have been a big part of that change. Before this, it seemed like the only place you put your marital status was on your tax return, but now many display it on the Internet for all to see.

“It’s not official until it’s on Facebook,” said Whitney Minnehan, who has chosen to display her marriage publicly on Facebook.

The idea of “facebook official,” also known as “FBO,” has two different meanings. It is said you’re not real friends unless you’re FBO, and you’re relationships are not legitimate if you’re not FBO.

“It’s changed the whole social construct of relationships,” said Maggie Elkin, a student at the University of Iowa, “People always say it’s not a serious relationship unless it’s ‘facebook official.’ I find the whole concept to be stupid.”

Elkin claims this phenomenon has led to people “Facebook stalking” others to see if he or she is single. Instead of getting to know someone, people have started trusting Facebook for all the answers.

The newly added link called “see friendship” has taken this “stalking” to a whole new level. Users can now see every interaction two people have had on one window.

All this information is easily accessible, so relationship statuses can be a very touchy issue especially when dealing with the status of “engaged.”

Obviously, it’s important to tell your family and good friends before making the announcement on Facebook, but because smart phones are quickly emerging, this makes it hard.

Giddy brides or grooms may be inclined to change their statuses minutes or hours after the engagement. Once again, it’s important to tell your family and close friends first, so you don’t cause any quarrels.

Nicole Stoll, senior in agricultural engineering, was very excited to announce her amazing engagement.

“It was perfect: sunset, Campanile, light snow falling and no one around expect the two of us,” Stoll said.

Both Stoll and her new fiancé posted their engagement on Facebook that night after calling and texting close family and friends.

“I didn’t have everyone’s cell phone numbers that I wanted to tell, so I thought Facebook would be the quickest way,” Stoll said. “I don’t usually post a lot on Facebook, but I was so happy that I wanted everyone I knew to know about it.”

Stoll had no issues with announcing her engagement, because she told the right people first. As a result, she was able to enjoy the support from her friends on Facebook.

It is important to remember there is also the option of not posting or taking down a relationship status. This is an easy way to avoid getting messages or chats from random friends.

“When I posted I was engaged, there were a lot of ‘Hey, it’s been a while. What have you been up to?’ emails from ex-boyfriends,” said Jenna Radmer, a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, “It was strange to say the least.”

Tyler Benson, freshman in music, also has had trouble with random friends commenting on recently updated status.

“People will comment on statues and ‘like it,’ and for all I know, it could be sarcasm,” Benson said. “When I took down my ‘In a relationship’ status, a girl in my hall who is ridiculously mean ‘liked’ it. One, it was rude and catty. Two, It’s not anyone’s business as to what is going on in my life.”

Due to these odd encounters, Kaitlynn Kelly, a student from University of Illinois, thinks a relationship status is “unnecessary personal information.”

Benson agrees with Kelly and has since then taken down her relationship status all together.

“I feel like [relationship statues] are only necessary for marriages or engagements,” Benson said.

Although the whole concept of FBO may seem silly, many disagree with Kelly and Benson. In fact, some embrace their status.

“I would be offended if my boyfriend took his relationship status down,” said Laishla Jerris, a student at Des Moines Area Community College, “I like people to see that he’s mine.”