The Facebook couple thing

Three or four of my friends on Facebook are actually couples, where two people share the same account. My instinct is that this seems a counter-intuitive approach to social networking for several reasons. But I could well be wrong and would welcome other people’s thoughts.

  1. It makes it harder to find people. When people have a shared account they often end up with a hybrid name which is less likely to be found in a search, or catch your eye as a name you recognise in the “People you might know” list. Add in change of name brought about by marriage then chances of recognition are even further reduced. It is possible to enter maiden names as part of a profile, causing your account to show up if people search for you by your maiden name, but not many seem to do this and it undoubtedly works better with only one name being tinkered with.
  2. It feels weird being friends with someone you’ve never met. Sometimes I know, and consider myself friends with, both halves of the relationship. Sometimes I don’t. If I’ve never met your partner, seeing status updates etc. from them is probably not a huge amount of interest to me and I can’t tell which content added to your profile is from you. On the other hand, if you have separate accounts, I have met your partner and decide I would like to keep up with them, I can add them as a friend too.
  3. It negates the networking part of social networking; being able to define your relationships with other people. I met him once, I worked with her, I spent three weeks mountain climbing with him, I ‘ve been married to her for 45 years, that sort of thing. You can define yourself as being in a relationship with someone and identify who that someone is. You can still leave people viewing your profile with no doubt, if that is your wish, that you are firmly coupled up, without having a shared account. With a shared account, your timeline or employment data, if you have entered any, will be a mish-mash summation of both your experiences. If I was at school, say, with one half of a couple with a shared account, the logical inference from the network is that I was also at school with the other person’s schoolmates. We can’t have logical incongruities on social networking sites!
  4. What happens if a couple with a shared account were to split up? Not that I would wish it upon my friends, of course! They’ll be faced with reconstrucing the digital manifestation of their social network. Friendships will have to be requested and accepted. Photos will have to be re-tagged, maybe re-uploaded. It’s easy to imagine arguments over who gets custody of the Facebook account. With separate accounts, you can just “cancel” your relationship and inform everyone of the fact in one fell swoop!
  5. How do you tag correctly a photo with only one half of the couple in? How do you tag a photo with them both in, but in different parts of the frame?

So, why do people have shared accounts? Indeed, is it the result of a specific choice or just the default position for some couples that share everything? Is it so that both halves of the couple are reassured that they know what their oppos are up to on the treacherous and fickle Interwubs? Are there any up sides? Have I got the wrong end of the stick?

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    3 Responses to The Facebook couple thing

    1. Ben says:

      Hi Tony

      For my parents, who have been together since 18 (they’re in their 50s now), they like to do things together – they read and write emails… it would be a bit of a hassle to maintain and keep switching between two separate Facebook accounts, and keep CCing and/or forwarding messages.

      If there’s a message that’s for one, rather than both, then the other would simply not bother reading the message and any followups.

      Thought I’d just mention this, as I can understand why it’s easier and more convenient this way for some couples. ๐Ÿ™‚ Mind you, I’m not sure I will do this myself with my girlfriend ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Ben

      P.S. lots of great blog entires, thanks for some enjoyable breaks ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Steve says:

      Try thing in the opposite direction. You have had separate accounts and are a couple now. Certain of your โ€œfriendsโ€ donโ€™t like or ignore the idea you are not available. Those innovations that you just deleted before because you were never interested now show up, over morning coffee a time you both check emails and such. Along with is (he or she) treating you good. I even had one suggest that I might be happier living with them. It seemed like if I blocked one then some of them being friends figured that out and started another uproar. So finally we both deleted our accounts, and made one joint account. Problem solved and now any where we go its one account and everyone knows it.

    3. Jamsy says:

      Well, I was asking this question myself too especially the 4th question? Will it be awkward if you split up and create a new facebook account?? I mean, it’s just a facebook account, one should have own account and if they really want a joint account, then create another new account.

      James

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