Jean Hannah Edelstein: Why Facebook Introduced Couple Pages
One Guardian writer is not as disgusted by Facebook's relationship timelines as everyone else, and here's why.
This week’s announcement that Facebook has launched pages for couples, automatically sorting photos and other posts involving a loved-up pair into one scrolling timeline, has proved to be controversial. Writing in the Telegraph, the women’s editor, Emma Barnett, even declared that she was so disgusted by her joint page with her husband that she might Facebook-break up with him, out of spite. But unlike Barnett, I welcome this development.
For while I have never yet published my relationship status on Facebook in the seven years I’ve had a profile, I live in the hope that one day I might meet someone with whom I share such a profound connection that I can post photo after photo that we’ve taken of ourselves on holiday, snogging in front of Unesco world heritage sites or on beaches that everyone knows are expensive to get to.
The angle will be flattering, what with the photo being shot from the maximum height of his extended arm, and I’ll be on the left (my good side), because statistics dictate that he’ll probably be right-handed. “Alway’s remember that special day in Malaysia babe! xxxx” he’ll write underneath it when we get home, and I’ll “like” that, even though he’ll have got the apostrophe wrong and I’ll be a bit afraid that my former neighbour, or that woman I worked with at that job I had at that place that one time in 2006, might see the error and judge me, and also him.
It will be great when the man with whom I share a profound connection and I move from “In a relationship” to “Engaged”, because we’ll be able to share the album from our engagement photoshoot. We’ll pose in a motif that is at once edgy and yet representative of our unique relationship, maybe standing in the parking lot of our favourite supermarket or cavorting in a field with puppies. There will be a classic shot – you know the one, where he is staring at me like I’m his favourite kind of cheese, and I’m gazing at the camera, serene and, OK, a little smug – and I’ll use it for my profile photo. No, my cover photo. No, my profile photo.
Of course, our engagement Facebook album will just be the warm-up for the wedding. Because, although we will have to wait until after the ceremony to update our status to “Married”, our friends will be live-posting the shit out of it on their smartphones. Which will be great, because it means that everyone who didn’t get invited to the wedding will be able to congratulate us in near real-time – people like the girl who beat me for the second lead in the school play, and this one kid I used to babysit. And, most importantly, all of my ex-boyfriends, who will see how happy I am with my Facebook-worthy husband standing behind me with his arms around my waist, because that’s the way that people stand when they get married. The ex-boyfriends will be filled with hot, prompt regret.
And then we’ll go on honeymoon. We’ll post photos of our newly wedding-ringed hands holding forks as we eat airplane food. We’ll put up photos that are similar to some of the ones that I mentioned earlier, except that they’ll be on a more expensive island, and maybe we’ll post a photo taken at an angle that makes it look like we’re naked together under some kind of a mosquito net because, you know, honeymoon, right? LOL! I’ll write a wink emoticon underneath so everyone gets it, especially some girl I went to summer camp with in 1996 and my third cousin, who I’ve met twice. And then when we get home I’ll update my status to something like “I am the happiest girl alive!!!” and while I wait to see if I am pregnant I’ll just go to facebook.com/us and scroll back through all the memories while playing The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand, on loop.
But, until the day I type all this on facebook.com/us, it will just go to the page of basic information about me, like where I went to university and what my job is. Which is quite like when I was the only single cousin at my younger sister’s wedding last summer, and people kept saying, “You’ll find someone!” and then congratulating me on my interesting career. Thanks for that, Facebook. Thanks a lot.