For people like me who remember what the world was like before cellular phones and the internet, the social networking revolution is a surreal experience.

Connectivity and the digital age enhanced our lives in many ways and as it quickened the pace of life to warp speed, it also facilitated communication and keeping in touch.

With the labyrinth of exchanges on internet comes the Facebook revolution and I have to admit that I am quite appreciative of the benefits of Facebook in my life…

However at the same time, I cannot help but notice how Facebook and specifically the Facebook Relationship Statuses has impacted many lives – both positively and negatively.

As much as we’d like to say that the cyberspace or social networking presence isn’t “real life“… the distinction isn’t quite as clear cut as that.

It might not be the whole picture–but then again, even when we meet someone face to face, it isn’t the whole picture either–but it matters and it says something.

As much as people want to push the relevance of Facebook relationship status into the “virtual reality” back alley of “real life” by saying that what matters is the real thing and that updating one’s relationship status does not have any bearing on the real realtionship–it does matter.

The public nature of social networking and Facebook confers upon declaring one’s relationship status as a proclamation of the relationship. For people who are more prudent about one’s identity, one can simply pick “in a relationship” or take it a step further by adding/tagging the partner’s name into it.

This announcement of the relationship, however “subtle” or “irrelevant”, does make waves and create ripples not just on the cyberscape since it carries over onto real life. The argument that what one does “online” is “not real” is passe and cannot be accepted. What any human being does–online or offline, in their minds or in physical reality–does count and does matter.

A public declaration of a relationship solidifies it to a certain extent, and taking that step towards that can be a bit of a challenge for many people. This of course does not mean that everyone in the world should be obliged to declare their relationship on Facebook, but it simply means that for very heavy/active users of Facebook, each interaction will be tinted by what one’s profile which includes the relationship status.

Transparency is not mandatory but definitely appreciated in the right context. As such, there is a concrete distinction between specifying that one is “in a relationship” or that one is “in a relationship with” a specific certain person.

When we specify the person whom we are in a relationship with publicly, we acknowledge them concretely and it bestows a certain validation to both the relationship and the partner than the anonymous partner option which “in a relationship” provides.

Of course, the “in a relationship” status then has more validity over not even putting in a relationship status referring to one’s relationship at all.

For whatever reason the person chooses to not place it in, when one or both of the people involved do not choose to indicate their unavailability to the public via their Facebook status message, it leaves a shadow of the doubt as to the conscious or unconscious reason behind it.

Thus when one is obviously in a relationship, how they update their relationship status and consequently their availability on cyberspace and publicly on social networking sites matter–arguably not as much as to lead to serious fights but they do figure as to how much weight is placed on the relationship or alternatively the nature of the relationship in some cases when there are understandable reasons as to why the relationship might be chosen to be kept private.

Nonetheless, one can’t help wonder what would be the underlying causes or factors involved when one who is tech savvy and active in social networks chooses not to openly recognize or declare one’s relationship and one’s specific partner via one’s relationship status.

(c) Niconica 2012