Beki Grinter

A divorce is announced: Facebook and Values

In social media on March 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I have just read the following facebook status update (and that so recently after this)

is very very happy … <ex husband> has agreed to a divorce … yahoo!!!

And I just had a new facebook moment. I should say that I’ve not been divorced myself, it took me a long time to get married, and I’m hopeful that it’ll stay that way. So, when I initially saw this status line, I had another social media moment.

At first, I was sort of surprised. Surprised to even read it. It seemed somehow so unlike most things I read on Facebook. Although now when I think about it why is it more surprising than some of the things I’ve read, let alone some of the things I’ve posted that are pretty personal expressions of my politics. Why, because some how I am more calibrated to the idea that politics is OK to discuss in public.

And it’s not that I am saying it’s not OK to discuss divorce in public. I think that’s more of a personal choice though. I think I have some friends who would probably not choose this particular medium for that particular announcement.

But, social media is also a choice. And so the other thing I read into this was an expression of happiness. I don’t know enough of the context, how long has this person been waiting to get that news (the person does not say). And I can only imagine that when divorce appears to be the only way forward, that having to wait any length of time before one can finally begin the closure and moving on must be difficult.

And so, facebook continues for me to be an experiment. And it’s not just what I participate in (like my recent series of political-oriented posts). It’s also how I respond to the other things I read. Facebook confronts me with my values. It has, every now and again, caused me to pause and reflect. Why did I seem surprised? And perhaps that’s one more reason it’s powerful, it helps to surface and expose my own assumptions and that could be a way I see the world with more nuance, but also inspect and ask myself the important question: what are my values and how do I and those values interact with the world.

  1. Part of what’s disturbing about this particular posting is of course the ‘yahoo!’ 🙂 The affect is inappropriate. It would still be a bit jarring if the post had tastefully said something like ‘I’m sad to say that… though I guess it’s for the best’–but much less so!

  2. I took it as an expression of relief, again, curious about the exact circumstances…

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