When I was in high school, the whole guy-meets-girl thing was fairly cryptic. If you liked a guy, you tapped into your friend network to find out the certain someone's likes, dislikes, hangouts and friends. Sometimes that network was accurate, but more often than not you wound up with a hodge-podge of rumor, speculation and innuendo on which to base the potential for a relationship.
So I sort of envy teens today. With their whole lives already online, it's a lot easier to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to potential beaus. But I have to wonder if all of this transparency comes at a price.
Seventeen magazine recently teamed with Facebook to survey 10,000 teen guys and girls (ages 16-21) to uncover how relationships have changed now that teens meet and fall in love on Facebook. Here's a quick look at their results:
- 79 percent of people friend a new person they meet within one week — suggesting that they want an immediate connection.
- 72 percent of people say talking to someone online helps them become closer in real life.
- 10 percent of people have been dumped over Facebook revealing that now people who don’t want to have the awkward breakup conversation don’t have to.
- 10 percent of people just change their relationship status to “single” to signify that their current relationship is over.
- 73 percent of people keep their exes in their circle of friends.
There were also significant differences between guys and girls when it comes to Facebook and romance. For instance, girls are significantly more likely than guys to decide not to date someone based on their Facebook profile. And 17 percent of guys don’t share their relationship status at all, compared to just 12 percent of girls — meaning guys are more likely to keep it private (private, or secret?)
“Teens are incredibly social, and Facebook plays a huge role in their love lives,” says Ann Shoket, editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine. ”It has changed the way our 13 million readers meet, flirt, fall in love…and even break up.”
So, it seems to me that all of that transparency does come at a price. Sure it's convenient to know at the click of a button what someone's likes and dislikes are, or even whether or not she is currently in a relationship, but that also means that nothing — not even broken hearts — are kept private among the Facebook generation.