Wednesday 26 November 2008

Facebook in case of divorce

Just a suggestion for sociological research in social networking software's.

In a divorce you want to do two things: split up everything of value and leave the past behind while moving on without too much of a hassle. Facebook and other social networking sites make this virtually impossible.

You know how it goes. You split up, you divide books, cd's, movies... and in the next few months you get frustrated because you keep searching for the books, cd's, dvd's you once bought yet no longer can find anywhere. But hey, after a couple of months and some therapeutic talks with friends, you let go of those once treasured items and you go on.

With facebook this is no longer possible! Ex-partners can now suddenly pop-up and start facebooking as well. They - of course - add shelfari in which they mention the books they have read ... and lookie here, some of those titles look really familiar.
They add a profile mentioning what type of people they really don't like (characteristics that look amazingly familiar when you read them). Other also familiar objects suddenly get sold on eBay (this was a gift from my nana!). And to top it off, you suddenly see them linking themselves to people that are 'your' friends. And because your friends are polite, they add your ex-partner to their network. By now you are clicking like mad on your ex-partners profile because you cannot belief your eyes... and as a result you see your ex-life passing in front of your eyes yet once again. By now - if you are a bit of a nervous type - you might be wondering if there is something like a constraining order for social networks?

I am lucky, my ex-partners and I get along just fine. We frequently look each other up (during which time we swiftly take one of 'our' books from the partner's shelves and push it underneath our sweater or coat while exiting quitely). But some of my friends are having facebook-divorce-shivers, inspiring though, I never looked at facebook this way.

Anyone interested in researching the subject? Anyone have other examples?

‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.'


  1. Hi!
    I'm not a facebook user so I couldn't comment on that one. But more in general: this digital age got me thinking, while being in the middle of a divorce.
    I spend quite a lot of time for our digital "divide", because I digitize a lot, this was actually helping me.
    Our books: after filling my virtual shelf I throw away the book itself. After scanning our pre-digital-photocamera photos I didn't need the hardcopy. After ripping all my cd's I didn't care for the cd's themselfes. I also scan my post for 2 years now...

    So, I took 2 computers, one of mine, one of hers. Split our mp3's, split/copied the foto's etc.

    I must say I have also a automatic backup regime, which backups everything to Amazon S3. Just in case...

    But speaking of social networks: you describe the disadvantage. But is there any "positive" divorce-social-network? Like divorce2.0?

  2. hi Joël

    You are definitely a very well organized back-up person! Waw. And it looks as though you have found a digital work-around for the splitting up of (digital) materials.

    The divorce2.0 seems a great idea :-) I do think social networking has definite advantages when in a divorce. Anything you want to pick up (again) will be much easier to get into. I will keep it in mind for a future post.

    BTW I love your (team)blog, great resources.