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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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?Pin It