Graphing Relationships on Facebook

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's Facebook official!
It's complicated.
An open relationship?
Single.


It's the way we find out who's dating who, and the way we hear of––gasp!–– the dreaded break-up.

It's the way we find information about our significant others. I have seen many relationships pop like bubble gum after an hour of a boyfriend or girlfriend creeping and viewing their beau acting a little too chummy with Monday's lab partner.

Countless status updates tell play-by-play news of a break-up or provide a way to make digs at a former sweetheart.

In a recent article, "Facebook Status Update Tells the Story of Romance Gone Awry," Mashable's writer Brenna Ehrlich posts a data visualization from "infographic wizard" David McCandless.

From past posts, you might remember that I am officially a sucker for data visualization. McCandless created one that shows "the most common times a year that people break up."



By looking at 10,000 status updates with the phrases "break up" or "broken up," McCandless concluded that

1) People commonly break up before Spring Break. There were also high numbers during summer.

2) Relationships often end on Mondays. Could this maybe be the result of bad choices on the weekend?

3) In the weeks before Christmas couples end it.

and finally 4) People actually have the audacity to break up with their honey on April Fool's Day.

It's almost comical how big of a role Facebook plays in our relationships. Makers of "Facebook Infomercial Parody" agree.



This YouTube video "pokes" fun at Facebook terms for relationships–– married, it's complicated, etc.–– as well as the stake people put into them.

Any time I see a relationship status move to "single," I clench my teeth. I always see comments responding to it saying "Why?" or "This better be a joke." Even worse, when the person actually responds and puts intimate information of his or her relationship on Facebook for all to see.

This is just too much. Why do users feel the need to press people for information about their personal lives on a social medium? If you really want to know that badly, call them up!

Furthermore, talking about how you "don't know why you broke up. He just came to my house and said it was over," will just make it awkward for former couples later when everyone knows every detail of their separation.

In the end, however, users of Facebook see status updates as a way to get through the tough times of a break-up. I can completely understand that. It's important for people to not hold all of their emotions in.

However, remember that this is a social medium. You should be cautious of what you all share on the topic.


1 comments:

Victoria Jones November 3, 2010 at 6:22 AM  

This is so interesting that couples break up around holidays and school breaks. The graph really helps put a visual on the whole story. I'm glad they researched this idea.

I have seen many a time when people break up on Facebook and blow the whole situation up. It also astounds me what people say and do on Facebook. Don't they know EVERYONE can see it?

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