The Facebook relationship status. What a vivid throwback.
It once held such a pivotal place in culture. It was the igniter of all group chat gossip. The catalyst of endless high school dramas. The sheer chaos that erupted from an ‘it’s complicated’ update was unmatched. It was such a prominent element of social media that there were sitcom episodes written about it.
Alas, over the last ten years, social media has evolved at a rapid pace. With every new platform and development comes a new set of unspoken rules to navigate. I’m not saying you’ll get booted from an app if you don’t follow the “rules” (unless you are genuinely breaking guidelines), but you do put yourself at risk of one painstakingly awful, glaring thing – appearing cringe.
Yes, presenting yourself as cringe on social media is a cardinal sin. It goes against everything Gen Z uses social media for. It is a highly curated means of self-expression, showcasing the highlights of our best selves, in a hyper-aesthetic, trend-focused and clout-chasing manner. It may be problematic, but it’s true.
The Facebook relationship status hasn’t been relevant since a Kylie lip kit and matte-foundation combo was the makeup look. Since Kim, Kanye and Taylor beefed. Since we were worried about what it’d be like if Donald Trump were to become President one day. Since before hyperpop and emo-rap were genres. You get the picture.
It’s basically the epitome of cringe.
I’m convinced that updating it now is an act reserved for anyone over the age of 50+ or edgelord/ironic trolls using it as some form of an inside joke.
For reference, my Facebook status says I’m currently married to my high school best friend. We did this in Year 7 when we were 12. It has honestly not occurred to me to change it since.
Telstra recently conducted a survey around how young people aged 18-34 are using social media within their love lives. When asked what signifies that a relationship was official, an overwhelming 63% of respondents said that ‘deleting the apps’ was the universal sign you’re loved up and locked into a relo.
48% reckon that adding them to a post on your Instagram grid is the sign of something being more than just a fling, and 15% of respondents said that featuring them on a Reel or TikTok was their seal of officiality for a relationship. 13% of people think that adding them to a group chat with their mates is the sign that it’s official. I don’t mean to judge, but that is completely deranged to me. Utter chaos. I’d love to meet you brave souls who are so confident in their friends’ ability to appear normal enough to not scare off a potential keeper.
Clearly, it’s a combo of the array of socials we have at our disposal, combined with how we present ourselves and where exactly we’re finding love that has become the recipe for its downfall over time.
Here’s my personal analysis of the timeline in which it fell off.
2008-2011: Facebook’s prime. Zucc’s utmost peak of influence. Facebook relationship statuses were all the rage, as much as Farmville and buying songs off the iTunes store was.
2012: IG had launched in 2010, but personally, I remember 2012 being the year in which it completely erupted. The world was watched through a Toaster filter. Simpler times.
2013 – 2015: The peak of IG and Snapchat. Kylie Jenner’s prominence on both propelled influencer culture into the stratosphere. I would say this was when it became socially unacceptable to post a Facebook status in general. Posting on people’s walls for their birthday also began to fade from the psyche.
2016: Instagram launch stories – a game-changer for social media. The rules change entirely, and we all become obsessed with sharing every element of our lives via stories, much like how we once ‘checked in’ on Facebook or updated our status. I would also say this was when dating apps like Tinder became a force to be reckoned with as well.
2017-2018: The conglomerate years of IG, Snap, Twitter and Facebook Groups (not the feed, groups specifically) all seem to have an equal share of the playing field.
2019-Now: TikTok has taken over completely. It’s the current barometer for all things cool. Did Lil Huddy and Charli D’amelio announce their relo via a Facebook status? Absolutely not. If I were the Zucc, I’d pay off one of these kids to simply get a Facebook account to restore its relevance.
In saying all this, Facebook as a platform still has a huge influence over other aspects our lives – news, events, messenger and marketplace all thrive on the platform. Our love lives seem to be one of the major things missing from it right now, showcasing just how much our relationships and how they’re formed are shaped by tech. It’s pretty wild, right?
Whether you’re married to the idea of updating your status or would prefer to keep your love-life offline, social media’s impact on our lives doesn’t seem to present any sign of slowing down. I guess ‘it’s complicated‘ but it does present a good laugh and nostalgia-fuel to look back on in years time.Image: Facebook