It appears to me that this article is influenced by the professionals and experts that the author brings in to the discussion. Bindley herself asserts at the beginning that Facebook does not cause problems but rather exacerbates them. This notion is contradicted in the article by Jennine Estes, a couples’ therapist who says she hears about Facebook issues on a daily basis in her office with issues such as one party reconnecting with an ex to one not mentioning the relationship on Facebook at all. Estes says, “these problems aren’t limited to relationships with pre-existing problems. Facebook presents so many challenges to committed relationships”.
I would argue that Facebook cannot present challenges to a relationship that is not already struggling with the same or other issues off the internet. Bindley says, “Messaging someone you hooked up with before you met your current love interest, analyzing a wall post on your significant other’s page, stewing over a suspicious picture but not actually asking about it — all of these have been known to tank relationships”. These things alone do not ‘tank relationships’.
The discourse in this article and generally surrounding social media and their effect on relationships seems to be one of blame. Many articles I came across have negatively connotated titles, alluding to the fact that social mediums are ‘killing‘ relationships and ‘making you’ jealous. This sort of discourse around social media suggests that people are jealous and relationships end because of social networks such as Facebook. However, I think it is all to easy to use social networks as scape goats when the reality people have always been jealous and always will be, regardless of the platform or facilitation.
danah boyd speaks to this notion in her article Friends, Friendsters and MySpace Top 8. boyd says, “Part of what makes the negotiation of Friendship on social network sites tricky is that it is deeply connected to participant’s offline social life…Social network sites are not digital spaces disconnected from other social venues- it is a modeling of one aspect of participant’s social worlds”. In other words, to understand and interact with social network sites it is vital to keep in mind that these sites are deeply intertwined with our physical lives and the relationships there in. Social network connections are not separate entities in themselves. It is this idea that Bindley’s article seems to disregard. The problems identified in the article are not because of Facebook nor are they limited to the social media realm; they real life roots and implications.
Judith Donath and boyd discuss these notions as well in their article Public displays of Connection. They say, “In the physical world, people display their connection in many ways. They have parties…they drop names…they decorate their refrigerator with photos…These displays serve various purposes…Seeing someone within the context of the connections provides the viewer with information about them”. The authors then go on to discuss the inferences drawn and reliability of these displays. This description of the physical world is no different in the social network world. This is even further evidence that actions or lack there of social media are simply displacements of something that would probably have and may still happen else where in a physical context without social media. If it wasn’t someone writing on a boyfriend’s wall that would ignite jealousy it would be seeing that person text him, approach him at a party, etc.
One thing to take away from my original article is their last piece of ‘advice’
“Our experts agree that the golden rule of Facebooking while committed is that on FB, as in life, you shouldn’t be doing anything that you wouldn’t want your partner to see.”