What was once a relationship milestone is now a cheesy relic of the aughts. According to a BuzzFeed News poll, about 40% of twentysomethings refuse to put their relationship status on Facebook.
There was a time, perhaps not so long ago, when two tech-savvy humans would meet, mash their parts together, fall in love, and make a display of their blissful commitment to the world: making it “Facebook official.”
People fretted over that step, agonized and analyzed over when was the right time to ask their partner about changing their status to “in a relationship.” In many ways, it was the digital version of the traditionally analog process of “defining the relationship” and thus the source of late-night TV show jokes and wine-soaked goss-seshes among besties. It was the new symbol of how our anxieties over our digital lives impact our real ones. The most important website of this century had given birth to a completely new step in the millennia-old tradition of finding another human to dock genitals with for a few decades until you die.
But it seems “Facebook official” isn't what it used to be. This week, BuzzFeed News ran a poll, “How Do You Use Facebook's Relationship Status?,” asking people whether or not they display their relationship status on their Facebook profile, and some of the social etiquette around it.
A few notes about the data: As many as 80,000 people responded to the 16 questions (People tend to drop out of these polls: 80,000 answered the first question, but only 40,000 answered the last). The last question was about age demographic, which as you would imagine would significantly impact relationship status. Only 11% of respondents were over 30, and 14% were high-school age (14 to 18). The other 75% were 19 to 29 years old. So consider that these results are MOSTLY about twentysomethings. However, each question is not broken out by age.
Also, please keep in mind that this poll was in no way scientific. Take it for what it is: a large sampling of Facebook users who self-reported their habits in a BuzzFeed News poll designed to be entertaining.
Qualifications aside, here were some of the most surprising findings:
However, there's a little bit of wavering here. For example, 34% of respondents said “Ew, never” to the question of 'how long into a relationship do you change your status?' A few questions later, though, it jumped to 43% saying changing their status is something they'd never do. Later, 41% said that even in a serious relationship, they don't put their status.
I blame this discrepancy on poor poll design by yours truly. My attempt to make the poll fun to take turned out to be at odds with creating an accurate poll. It essentially asks the same question a few times, but with differently worded answers, and sometimes more middle-ground, nuanced answers. So sue me, Quinnipiac.