Friday, July 13, 2012

Facebook the Homewrecker?

Article first published as Facebook the Home Wrecker? on Technorati.
Note: This is the original edit.

The popular media has found a new scapegoat for our personal failings and of course it has something to do with the Internet. 
Depending on whose study you're reading,  divorce statistics now show that either  1 in 5 or 1 in 3 cite  the popular social networking site Facebook as the cause. 
How can a website break up a marriage?  According to the studies unfaithful spouses often pursue extramarital relationships via Facebook with relative ease and little consequence.  Reconnecting with an old flame or just fudging marital status to flirt with other users is as simple as a mouse click.
And why not blame Facebook?  If the medium didn't exist none of these failed marriages would have happened, right?  Just as it's ridiculous to blame the lamp that you dropped on your foot for your throbbing big toe so it is with blaming Facebook for your divorce.
 General statistics still show divorce rates hovering in the 50% range which means  a large group of people made the wrong decision at some point with or without Facebook's help .  Blaming the catalyst (aka: Facebook) is nothing less than abdication of personal responsibility. 
The media loves headlines like this and buries the details on page 3.  After all infidelity is boring but add in the Internet and suddenly it's breaking news.   If you're married and pursuing extramarital relationships on Facebook, it's likely you'd be pursuing them without it.
It seems that many enter marriage with little more care than considering the purchase of an automobile.  I'll demonstrate with a equivalency comparison...
price = earning potential
styling = looks
performance = use your imagination...
cargo capacity = wants kids

safety = not an axe murderer
resale = alimony
With such a short list it's no surprise so many marriages fail.  Is it really such a revelation that an unfaithful spouse is caught flirting on Facebook if your entire relationship is based on such limited information? 
Divorce is a very mechanical process; full of formulae, legal claims and plenty of  personal liability to go around.  Intangibles like communication, shared interests and mutual respect can't be quantified by a cold algorithm.  It follows then, that blaming a website for the failure of your relationship exists in the realm of pure fallacy.  Facebook is a means not a cause.

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