Beki Grinter

Fighting on facebook

In research, social media on March 18, 2010 at 10:07 am

I don’t think i’ve ever seen a real couple fight on facebook. What I have seen is couples be quite playful with each other via facebook. Commentaries if you will.

And thankfully this seems to be sort of true for the not-even-married-yet couple who are featured as facebook fighters.

Ms. Andrews shares her fiancé’s view. “A lot of people aren’t with us if we have a fight at home,” she said. This way, “All our friends can kind of comment on it.”

For the record, both Mr. Gower and Ms. Andrews say they are happy together and anticipate marital bliss. They find their Facebook parrying hilarious, and are not bothered by any loss of privacy

The article reads pretty alarming (to me) for a while, but then suggests that for them it’s playful too.

And doing so publicly and allowing other people to comment, perhaps that’s got some advantages. An arbitration process of sorts. (This is not dissimilar from a new television show in the United States called the Marriage Ref, featured on page 2 and which I have seen, where couples feature an argument and have a panel of three judges decide who is correct. Of course the panelists are famous and the couple get prizes for participating, so it might be preferable to be on television, but how many people can get onto television you see?).

And perhaps this is still better than the stuff posted on lamebook (warning: some adult material features there, and possibly things you’ll find tasteless even if you’re over 18…).

But marriage counselors don’t recommend it, they think that

But rather than win support, fighting in front of your friends will more likely convince them that you shouldn’t be together in the first place, marriage counselors say. That certainly seems to be the case among friends of Facebook fighters, who, like any witnesses to a public spat, are caught in the middle, unsure whether to intervene or mind their own business.

I’ve not yet had that experience. I’ve definitely seen couples tease each other, but I’ve always thought it was funny. Perhaps I’m just not serious enough. And surely couples teasing each other is actually rather endearing, a sign of familiarity and playfulness, and I for one find it smile-worthy when I see it going on.

  1. I thought this was a new low in anecdotal reporting from the Times. They pretty much have found just one couple who fits their description, and this couple seems insane. And they’re not married, at least not yet, which makes the expert comments about the changing meaning of marriage (which are reasonable) almost completely irrelevant.

  2. I would guess that couples fighting *about* Facebook is probably a lot more common. Here are two pieces of (also) anecdotal evidence (;-]):

    (1) I recently encountered a guy who divorced his wife after he found out she had reconnected with an old flame via Facebook, and was essentially having an affair through Facebook. For some people, particularly this guy, there is a sense that the primary reason to use Facebook is to track down old girlfriends / boyfriends.

    (2) MTV’s latest ‘true life’ documentary is focused on teens with digital drama – fighting with their partners because of their various ‘digital’ activities including Facebook. Check out the clip here which is amusing / scary at the same time:

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