Even though the unveiling of Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods’ relationship on Facebook was as carefully orchestrated as a Broadway musical, announcing the relationship on Facebook actually makes them more like the rest of us.
Who hasn’t gone “awwwww” over the Facebook update that a friend “is now in a relationship?” That’s a prompt for me to beat a path to my friend’s Facebook page and post a facile comment: “Congrats!” “Yay!” “Excited for you!”
Facebook is how we now learn the most intimate news about our friends: marriages, engagements, birth of children and even death. I burst into tears in January when I saw “we’ll miss you” posts on the wall of a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer, Michael Triplett, a journalist and president of the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association.
My grief was combined with shame. I had not even known he was so close to death. I hugged him when I saw him last July. I saw a status update that he went to church on Christmas eve. I should have reach out to him in a real way, through a card, a phone call — anything more meaningful than a “like” on his status updates.
The watershed moments posted on Facebook are real for the people we know. (Vonn and Woods for real? Who knows.) Those moments are almost real for the rest of us. Comments and likes complement but cannot replace a phone call, a card or getting up from your desk, walking over to someone and talking to them. I wish I had done that much for Michael.