Created on: February 15, 2013 Last Updated: February 16, 2013
Love is in the air, or at least it is for Facebook. According a report on ABCnews.com, Valentine's Day 2013 saw a 200% increase in the number of relationship status changes over normal levels. There must be something in the water on February 14th.
Facebook claim that February 14th is far and away the most popular date for adding new relationship statuses to profiles, and also that as many as 70% of the site's members in relationships claim that they first met on Valentine's Day. That's a heart-warming statistic, and many of those who enjoyed the romantic first moments of a relationship will probably need to take a moment to feel even more smug at the thought of their happiness being so in tune with the general mood of the human race.
Of course, there is always a less happy side to this kind of story. While February 14th may be the best day for relationships to begin, it's possible that February 13th could be the most popular day for them to end. Virgin Mobile and dating site OKCupid dubbed the 13th 'National Breakup Day' after a survey suggested 59% of respondents would end an unsatisfying relationship shortly before Valentine's Day just in order to save money! Still, perhaps as one door closes, another opens... And of course, using Facebook to break up is a controversial subject in itself.
Facebook should also be concerned that not all of their members' relationships may be quite what they seem. This week the BBC also ran a story about people - mostly young women - who will pretend to be in a relationship with other people - mostly men - for a modest weekly fee. And if there was ever a date on which people might be tempted to invent a happier life for themselves, it could well be February 14th. Such behaviour is, of course, against the spirit if not the letter of the network's terms and conditions.
If anything this latest Facebook news story shows the inflated importance people place on their online interactions. Valentine's Day is demonstrably a day marketed at romantic couples, and it's not really news that these couples then choose to express this via their online profiles. For many, Valentine's Day might just have been the date they chose to make an existing relationship public to their online acquaintances. Whatever their reasons, it does suggest that romance is alive and well in the social media age, and long may it continue to thrive.
Learn more about this author, Kenneth Andrews.
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