Facebook's new "Us" pages
Has the social network just become more obnoxious? Let's discuss.
Tue Nov 13 2012
Just when you thought Facebook couldn't induce any more self-doubt or misguided introspection, the social network has announced "Us" pages to chronicle the minutiae of your relationship.
The new pages essentially rejigger what would've been the "friendship" page between you and your mate, but critics of the redesign argue that the altered focus has the potential to strike a sensitive nerve within users and undermine the seriousness of relationships. As blogger Jennifer Wright of The Gloss explains, "You’re perfectly capable of sharing pictures of yourself and your partner without needing to combine your entire identities onto one page.… It’s terrible enough just saying you’re in a relationship with someone on Facebook because all your friends know the minute you break up – when you break up, where does the Facebook couple’s page go? That is going to be like a knife right in your heart-brain."
I have to agree with her. Sorting through the physical reminders of a failed relationship—clothing, gifts, cards and the like—is plenty miserable on its own. And even if I chose to link myself to my significant other publically, I'd rather not grant my entire social network one-click access to a compilation of wall posts, pictures and milestones that some algorithm amasses onmy behalf. Yes, there are privacy settings you can toggle, but they're hardly user-friendly. Plus, when changes are made, the tweaks are rarely well-publicized within the site, making it harder to control the information you opt to share.
However, I can also understand the counterpoint expressed by writer Justin McLachlan, who argues that the kind of reaction I spoke of above is overblown and knee-jerk. He says, "It’s no different, really, than typing your name into Google and seeing your face and other personal details from social networks mashed up in a sidebar." The thing is, as automated as the whole "Us" page is, it's still based on real relationships, the foundations of which are innately emotional. And call me crazy, but anything emotional is going to trigger a big response.
So what do you think, TONY readers: Are "Us" pages one more annoying feather in Facebook's lifecasting cap? Or are they no big whoop? Weigh in below or tweet me your 140-character opinions.