Finding out your marriage is over via Facebook may be one of the worst experiences you could have. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Emma Brady, 39, when her husband of 12 years changed his relationship status on Facebook, according to the Daily Mail. To Neil Brady’s friends, the message on their news feeds read “Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady.”
The worst part about this situation is the fact that Emma says she had no idea her marriage was in such dire straights until a friend saw Neil’s updated relationship status and called her at work to see if she was all right. It’s painful enough to go through marital problems and even a divorce. It can be just as painful to have to deal with the social consequences of divorcing, so Neil’s public denouncement of his marriage via Facebook has turned into a very humiliating situation for Emma.
Neil, however, insists that his Facebook profile changes are not the first Emma had known of their separation. After a scuff between Neil and Emma, the husband grabbed his wife by the wrist and threw her out of the house wearing nothing but her robe after hearing of Emma’s purported affair. The case went to court, where the Facebook status situation also came up. Neil’s attorney insists that Neil had suggested a separation several times, rejecting Emma’s claim that the Facebook status update was the first she’d heard of Neil’s desire to end their marriage.
While this does all seem to boil down to a nasty case of he-says, she-says, the situation merely reiterates the power of Facebook as a heavily influential social utility. Just last week Prince Harry faced a similarly humiliating situation when his girlfriend of 5 years officially ended their relationship by changing her status on Facebook as well. No matter which way you look at it, changing your relationship status on Facebook is an official and public declaration of what’s going on in your real life.
And with delivery tools like the Facebook news feed, our immediate social graph is only enabled to watch the successes and the train wrecks of our lives go by. As Facebook is a social network, these successes and train wrecks also become interactive occurrences in our lives’ timelines, often incurring reactions from friends and acquaintances we’re just not ready for.
Which begs the question; is this something that will change on Facebook’s end, or an individual’s end (by changing things like privacy settings or merely avoiding online social networks all together) or will we come to accept the fact that our lives get played out and essentially archived on sites like Facebook, for all to see?