A girl I went to high school with just went through a very nasty divorce. I haven’t talked to her since she got married and left — and not even really since the 8th grade – but I couldn’t help but notice all the dirty details of the divorce because they were plastered all over my Facebook newsfeed.

Other than firmly confirming my suspicions that she and her now ex-husband weren’t mature enough to get married in the first place, their divorce is the most recent example of people posting their dirty laundry all over Facebook. From nasty statuses targeted at an “anonymous” (but very obvious) friend, to long rants about all the failings of a current boyfriend, it seems like Facebook has become less of a social network and more of a private journal.

I could detail the break ups and fights of at least four different couples, and I’m not close to any of them. And while I do occasionally partake in some good natured Facebook stalking, all I had to do to find out about these break ups was sign into my Facebook account. I don’t remember issues like this when I first got my Facebook, but maybe the introduction of the stalker-assisting newsfeed has just made it more apparent.

Maybe I missed the memo when it suddenly became acceptable to have huge public fights. But I think what’s really at the heart of these Facebook fights is a sense of protection from not having to look the person you are bad-mouthing in the face. As far as I can tell, it’s still rare and shocking to see people stand on the street yelling at each other about how she cheated with an ugly, balding, middle-aged man, and he never calls when he says he will and spends all of his time playing World of War Craft and is the worst boyfriend in the world. Facebook, though, is a completely different story.

It’s sad that it has to be said, but Facebook is not your diary. If you hate your boyfriend, tell him that he’s a jerk. Don’t tell all 534 of your not-so-close “friends.” If your status update is a direct message to a specific person then it isn’t a status update, it’s a public e-mail. Think of how embarrassing it would be to send a private e-mail meant for your girlfriend to your entire address book. That is what Facebook is — a big “send all” button. Clearly that concept is completely beyond comprehension for some people.

While it is usually just annoying and a little funny to watch these fights on Facebook, sometimes people’s feelings are really hurt. It’s the foundation of cyber-bullying — people have more confidence when they don’t have to look someone in the eye. Until people feel they are responsible for what they say online, dirty divorces, fights and cyber-bullying are going to continue to be plastered across the web.

Just remember, everything on the Internet is public. And we don’t want to hear about your divorce anymore.

Erika Mayer is an LSA junior.

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