Too much information killed college student Katie Ulrich’s relationship. The NYU junior began to suspect her romance was on rocky ground when she and the new flame were not exactly simpatico: She dressed up for dates while he sported sweats; they’d make plans for a day’s outing to Coney Island and he changed his mind just before boarding the train.
Ulrich was willing to let the faux pas slip until an indie concert they planned to attend together. “He called to say he was not feeling well enough to go,” Ulrich said. “I decided not to go either, even though I already bought my ticket.”
That night when Ulrich checked her Facebook newsfeed, she saw her “sick” date’s status: He was going to the concert with a number of tagged friends. After that, “I was done seeing him,” Ulrich said.
Many people have experienced Facebook postings have ending a blossoming relationship. Through the constant status updates, location check-ins, and photo postings, Facebook puts a relationship in hyper speed.
With Facebook, the need for introductory conversations is eliminated. One can find all the information they need simply by friending a person and viewing the profile. A profile is a goldmine listing the entire history of a person’s life through pictures, postings, and status updates. The information overload creates problems for dating — no longer do people learn about each other through interpersonal relations, all it takes is some snooping on their Facebook profile.
NYU graduate student Kristin Buettner experienced an early ending to one romantic relationship thanks to Facebook. “I met a guy, and we started Facebook chatting, G-Chatting and texting all the time,” Buettner said. “He knew everything from what I was doing at work to what I was eating for lunch, and it killed the mystery.”
Buettner realized that while Facebook may seem like a practical replacement to developing a relationship with someone, it is completely artificial. “A computer can do a lot of things,” Buettner said. “But, it can’t replicate romantic chemistry!”
Buettner’s experience with information overload is why Laurie Davis, founder of eFlirt Expert, warns “Friending a match before your first date encourages snooping,” Davis said.
Yet, avoiding Facebook is not an option, says Davis. “The reality of today’s society is that nearly all of our lives are digital,” Davis said.
Facebook’s effects on relationships prompted “Your Tango,” a love advice blog to post an article detailing “Six Things You Do on Facebook That Turn Him Off.” Red flags include ex-bashing, overdoing the “duck lips” pose in profile pictures, too many status updates, hitting the “like” button once too often, having over a thousand friends, and playing online games like Mafia Wars or Farmville.
Facebook can also offer accessibility to a person’s family, perhaps not always the best idea. NYU junior Alexa Modungo decided to get even with her ex-boyfriend when he disrespected her: she found his mother on Facebook.
Modungo dated her ex-boyfriend for five years; they were childhood friends. Growing up in the New York City private school scene, Modungo said they cultivated a deep, intimate relationship. Although, his behavior showed otherwise, “He told me he cheated on me at his grandfather’s 80th birthday party, while I was sitting between his mother and him,” she said.
Modungo’s relationship reached a point where she could no longer tolerate her ex-boyfriend’s behavior. “I took it upon myself,” she said, “to send his mother Facebook messages explaining what a chauvinist she raised.”
Modungo sent 42 messages to be exact, and she blames Facebook to what she now admits was  an over-the-top reaction. “Facebook provides an alternate reality,” she said. “It’s a lot easier to say something on Facebook than in person.”
Modungo’s messages to her ex-boyfriend’s mother fall under what The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein calls the hover parent (or friend) issue with Facebook. “Before social networking, when you broke up with someone it was easier to disconnect. Although, you could still drive by your ex’s house or call his phone and hang up, to try and check up on him,” Bernstein said. “Now you can spy on that person via Facebook, constantly monitoring his (or her) behavior and analyzing it.”