Proper Facebook Etiquette

#324 Ode to a spouse

Friday 23rd May, 2008

Would it be rude to de-friend your spouse on Facebook?

Friends, recently married and returned from honeymoon have reached their first cross-roads in married life. And on Facebook too. Husband feels restricted by Wife’s ‘constant interrogation’ about who has been as a Facebook friend. His response: To drop her from his friend list, but still keep ‘married to’ as a relationship status.

Since Husband’s action there has been much (more) debate about whether this was the best course of action. It will already have become apparent from my past blogs that there is an obvious gender divide with how Facebook members use the various tools and connect to one another. I was going to use the phrase ‘to play’, but this would be misleading as interactions are expected to occur as close to real time as possible (short-lags between updates, actions and responses) and have real time consequences.

For some the conventional model of; log-in, check mail, posts etc, log-out suits an on go, short on time Facebook management. Others prefer to spend time ‘hanging out’, observing friends, joining groups, posting content etc. These modes of being on Facebook can be incompatible, as Husband and Wife found out. It had been suggested that the original friendship form of said husband and wife should be replicated on Facebook in order to crystallise their relationship as stable and enduring. However the active process of acquiring new friends (usually old school friends) by the Husband bought together past and present context in new and unexpected ways. Which is why there is some curiosity on the part of Wife and that this has been interpreted as ‘snooping’ or ‘interrogative’ by Husband.

The settling into Facebook shares much of the settling in period experienced by a new relationship. The social staging of what is going on, who is connected to who and why become problematic when it is not just the individual taking on such actions, but when they are seen as part of a couple. Whilst Husband does not want to ‘forget’ or conveniently fail to acknowledge Wife by trying to resurrect other relationships that were in place before they were a couple there’s a movement of contexts that recuperates the chronological sequence of who is important in Husband’s daily life. Wife feels like she is being pushed aside.

But what of the etiquette?

A simple solution would be for Husband to keep Wife as ‘friend’, but to set news and mini-feed updates to hide friend lists. Of course this is problematic in itself as by the nature of ‘hiding’ anything, immediately that propels us forward to ‘suspicious’ curiosity whether there is reason or not.

Something that other friends of mine have done in order to safe-guard their relationship status has been to set up a couple’s profile, where they both shared password and access. Problems and arguments quickly arose. Plus this was viewed as either: 1. sickeningly smug, and/or 2. totally farcical by friends.

Ultimately your Facebook account is your own. That’s all part of the appeal, the personalisation, and image that you can set for yourself. With regard to Husband and Wife, well you agreed to marry one another. This means sharing life, love and even your Facebook entries.

3 Responses to “#324 Ode to a spouse”

  1. Anonymous says:

    love your facebook etiquette series. This one hit home as my spouse , be-friended me on facebook. My theory is, if you have nothing to hide, than what does it matter if they know your passwords and facebook friends.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Day off Monday so find myself reading your musings today instead of office coffee break where you have a fan base!
    Better than my sunday paper – thanks for the diversion and advice

  3. Anonymous says:

    Great post :)
    You are right here as it is about who owns the information. I think I do but in fact it is FaceBook – which is worth thinking about.

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