Un-Friend My Heart: Facebook, Promiscuity, And Heartbreak in a Neoliberal Age (Special COLLECTION: THE ETHICS OF DISCONNECTION IN A NEOLIBERAL Age) (Report) by Anthropological Quarterly

Un-Friend My Heart: Facebook, Promiscuity, And Heartbreak in a Neoliberal Age (Special COLLECTION: THE ETHICS OF DISCONNECTION IN A NEOLIBERAL Age) (Report)

By Anthropological Quarterly

  • Release Date: 2011-09-22
  • Category: Social Science

Brief Description

In 2007 and 2008, I interviewed 72 people, mostly college students at my home institution, about how they use new media when they are breaking up. For my second interview, Rose, (1) one of my former students, brought a list of rules and suggestions for other people about how to manage their relationships. She was always a very well-prepared student and I suspect might have been under the impression that I was writing a self-help book. Her rules helped her to structure the interview; she would read out a rule and then explain her reasoning. Rule number four was that the couple should not be on Facebook. Rose was clear: if people want to maintain a romantic relationship, both members of the couple should get off of Facebook. Why Facebook? Rose and I weren't discussing Facebook exclusively: we talked about text message fights, about expressing misery through away messages on instant messaging, and similar matters. Yet Facebook was the new media that Rose considered singularly destructive of relationships. For her, it seemed perfectly reasonable that one could threaten a relationship by communicating through a particular medium, and save the relationship by rejecting that medium. As Rose told me this, I wondered if she and others I interviewed would be equally likely to say: "quit using a cell phone if you want to preserve your relationship" or "quit emailing." I didn't think so. Rose did not suggest Facebook was hazardous simply because it was new--she used other new media that she could have singled out but did not.

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