Cristina Sanchez is a sophomore communication studies major.
I am certain that we’ve all had our fair share of breakups. So it is safe to assume that we have all had to endure a lot of blocking, deleting, and plain old ghosting (stopping all forms of communication with the hope someone will get the hint and leave you alone) in the digital age we all live in. However, now you don’t have to look too far to avoid the level of awkwardness that comes with breaking up; Facebook has your back. According to Facebook product manager Kelly Winters, Facebook began “testing tools to help people manage how they interact with their former partners on Facebook after a relationship has ended” on mobile devices across the U.S. Instead of having to do the awkward task of deleting your ex from your life via social media, you can now limit what you see and what they can see on one another’s news feed. Is this really beneficial though?
On the plus side, you get to go through the so called “mourning” phase of a breakup much more smoothly. You’re not bombarded with the idea that you can’t be Facebook “friends” anymore, which can be a lot to digest if you’re the type to constantly post about your relationship on social media. You also don’t have to deal with seeing previous posts and images in which you both are tagged in. This process helps change the way a breakup looks like online. With mutual friends and family looking from the sidelines of their smart phones and computer screens, it draws attention away from you having to constantly think about or see your ex’s updates. You’re the one manning the ship.
However, the feature does have its drawbacks. There are tons of apps available already that can do the dirty work for you if you choose not to do so manually. From dumping your ex for you via text with Binder, to Eternal Sunshine and the Killswitch app that removes all traces of your ex discreetly from you Facebook profile whether it be photos, videos, wall posts, and status updates (even if your mutual friends tagged them in as well) without unfriending them. It would be as if the relationship never existed. Facebook on the other hand is simply pushing your ex under the rug for safe-keeping, or hiding them till you forget about them entirely. At least with apps like Kill Switch and Eternal Sunshine you’ll never have to think about your ex when you log in online. Sure you might still be friends with them online, but they guarantees you’ll have no tangible connection to them anymore via social media.
Though the options Facebook offer are great — “seeing less of their name, profile photos, tagged posts, and other content” — it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t ever see your ex’s face or name ever again. Mutual friends will continue to hang out and more often than not will tag them in posts. For some, this can be easier to handle seeing as not everyone can fully detach themselves from someone of clear significance to them. However, it is so easy to return to old habits, and Facebook can’t make sure you don’t stalk their profiles. If these tools are used correctly and with a good amount a self-control, maybe, just maybe this can work in favor of dumpees (and dumpers) everywhere.
In the end, it becomes the decision of both parties. Will you unfriend, block or just let Facebook manage your status post-breakup? “To do or not to do?” That’s the real question.