Thomas Crampton

Social Media in China and across Asia

How Facebook Ended My Marriage

Jun 15, 2007

Loic Twitters End of our MarriageToday I discovered the danger of changing my Facebook profile.

My fiancee and I decided that showing our engagement in Facebook gave out a little too much personal information.

But I did not realize that unchecking “Thomas Crampton is engaged to Thuy-Tien Tran” would send a message to every Facebook friend that “Thomas Crampton and Thuy-Tien Tran are no longer engaged”.

A little broken heart accompanied the message in our newsfeed, for added emotion.

Within minutes an email arrived from a friend in San Francisco asking if I was doing ok and offering emotional support at this trying time.

A friend who has the number one blog in France, Loic Le Meur, posted the news on his Twitter feed, which has nearly 1,000 readers. Friends (and people we don’t even know) started discussing the situation without us knowing about it.

Suddenly I found myself explaining to people spanning nine timezones that we are, in fact, still engaged.

Then it occurred to me: Solve a Facebook problem with a Facebook solution.

I updated my Facebook status to read:

Thomas Crampton is still getting married, but decided to reduce personal info on facebook. Did not expect people to react thinking the ceremony was cancelled!!

Everyone linked to me in Facebook received the message and anyone visiting my profile can see it.

This blog posting should solve the problem, but so much for the privacy we sought!

Update: A very strange new twist has made this much more public than I ever feared. Boing Boing, the top blog on the Internet, Time Magazine’s blog, the London Standard, Libération the French newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Sartre, Fast Company have now all mentioned our experience. Is this the 21st century equivalent of a printed wedding announcement?

Update 2: Two very Amusing anti-Facebook videos.

Facebookevestandpart2

Facebookevestandard
The Evening Standard (London), June 25, 2007 Monday, A; Pg. 28,

Facebookliberation
Libération, Friday July 13, page 24

Thuy-Tien Crampton

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Thomas Crampton

Thomas Crampton
About: Thomas Crampton worked as a correspondent for the _INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE_ and_THE NEW YORK TIMES_ for more than a decade, reporting from five... [Learn more]

Discussion

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  • Guest

    I did the same thing with my fiancee, but I remembered seeing a many broken hearts years ago in college when people were breaking off more casual relationships. Anyway, I am glad that you two are still together.

  • Thanks....Mary

  • sasamilosevic

    Mr Crampton
    I am freelance journalist Sasa Milosevic from Serbia, East Europe and write a book about Facebook, a currently histery bigger and more dangerous than swine flu. Please, contact me on skype: drsasamilosevic or [email protected] I need your help regarding your bad experiences as well as bad experience of your friend Stromback.

    Thank you very much on help

  • Bethel

    sorry mr thomas; issues like marriage could really be complicated on facebook indeed. its a lesson to we other facebook users.

  • As a marriage counselor I am surprised at how more and more marriages get affected by social media such as Facebook in my daily work. I know of a couple of divorces that is internetnet related.

  • You just need to change your privacy settings to control what gets posted on your page, and what others are allowed to see!

  • asdfsadf

  • nice one

  • ailnah

    ...and now it's been Stumbled.

    That is rather ironic how much attention this has been getting. :P

  • anna

    you should share your story on www.cancelyourfacebook.com

  • facebook is like a sticky icky poop trap.

    it seems cool and useful until you realize that everything you put on there is now their info to sell to anyone.

    you cant even delete your profile. and info that has been put on in the past stays with them forever.

    id say just quit now to avoid any more of your data being sold or exploited.

  • Gomer

    The Twitter guy? Not so much of a friend.

  • Jane Smith

    Well its more of a mis-understanding from FaceBook newbies or a group freudian mishap?
    Would you publish your lifes intimate details in the paper, just because it was free or easy? Some would, but the rest should take ownership of what they do with the internet..

  • Sam Finnemore

    I do, frankly. It's not an earth-shattering event, but it's something that many people who use these sites are aware of, but haven't been talking about - how online "social networking" can have unintended effects on your real social life. I'm sure lots of people have been in a similar situation.

  • Jane Smith

    With all due respect Mr Crampton but...

    WHO GIVES A TOSS?

  • a

    "You can't do that in here! This is a broom closet!"
    "But we're engaged..."
    "Well, disengage and get back to your posts!"

    - Congress of Wonders

  • Gonzague

    Kinda crazy

    I did not knew that Facebook was sending such emails.

    When I'll divorce from Loïc, i'll let you know j/k

  • Dougie

    Shoulda used myspace, you would have had a new girl within an hour!

  • I'll echo Emmanuel - Mazel Tov. What a great reminder that we all should probably spend a bit less time staring at computer monitors and a bit more time talking to one another.

  • As an FYI, the inadvertent announcement of a ending relationship could have been prevented. Click on the top-right privacy link from anywhere in Facebook, then click Edit Settings for News Feed and Mini-Feed.

  • hehehe... Two sides to every coin! Funny anyway now since you found a solution! You may have changed the expression "to fight fire with fire" with your "Solve a Facebook problem with a Facebook solution"... ;)

    Congratulations!
    :D.

  • Why didn't you simply change the privacy settings? That probably wouldn't have sent any notifications.

  • C'est incroyable cette histoire!

    C'est vrai que le problème avec Facebook, c'est que tout le monde est au courant de ce qu'on coche et décoche... notamment concernant les informations personelles!

    http://www.henrichatillon.com

  • Antisocial network effects! Anyway - congratulations to you both on the event and the "bug-fix"!

  • By the way... Mazal Tov !

  • well, it was all a facebook scare....

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