Thursday, December 04, 2008

My Facebook divorce

I wrote this over a year ago...but I found it and thought it read better than I thought, so I am publishing it now.

When I first signed up on Facebook, about two years ago, I joked with my wife that marriage was easy. She signed up, I indicated I was married and ticked her name as my partner. Voila! a Facebook marriage.

Tonight, she indicated in her status bar she was packing. She changed her relationship status to single over a month ago. Facebook, after all, has no counselor, and no narrative of depth. It aids contact but not communication, and creates networks. But a network's value is its size, more than any single node. Remove any given node- in this case, a person- and the network still exists. It maps over relationships, nodding superficially to marriage and friendships but essentially subsuming them into a network that can include people one has never met face to face, or aquantances met once in a bar or workshop.

Perhaps this is the future, where relationships are rendered superficial because of the ease with which they can be added, re-categorised or even removed. Un-tick 'married'... Voila!
Facebook divorce. The paperwork, the failure(and yes, divorce is a failure because marriage contracts are not on the same time frame as say a lease, but we hope, for a life time) can be handled later.

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"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster