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“It’s Complicated” With Political Facebook Status Updates

Status update: Carla Sosenko is fascinated by the unwitting political discourse of Facebook status updates. We’ve had a presumptive Democratic presidential candidate for less than 48 hours, and Anne L. Fritz is not happy. I haven’t seen Anne in months, but I know she’s pissed because her Facebook status update told me so: Anne L. Fritz says 16 out of 100 women in the Senate, 76 women out of 435 Members of Congress and 0 women out of 43 presidents is no reason to celebrate. Bari Cayne isn’t happy either, but for different reasons: Bari Cayne can't believe the Democrats just lost another eight years in the White House. Not everyone agrees with this assessment. For example: Alyse Livingston is feeling the change in the air. It's about time. The Facebook status update has always been a way to clue in your friends (and peripheral friends and frenemies and sometime hookups and exes) to your (arguably) notable comings and going. Usually they’re of the basic variety (Jane Doe is daydreaming), and often they wink at cultural phenomenons in a hipstery (i.e. snarky) way or shamelessly self-promote. But something funny happened on the way to the election: Status updates got serious. Or at least more civic-minded. Out of my 166 friends (OMG, is that an acceptable amount? Too low? When did admitting your number of Facebook friends start to feel like copping to your number of sexual partners?), five were related to the other night’s election events alone. Add to that a handful of oblique and/or vague update references that *could* be about the election. (I’d need someone smarter than I or the update author to know for sure.) My own status just days ago (even though I used to be a Hillary girl) said, “GObama, go!” (So very clever.) One of today’s updates was from my friend Joe, who had the luck (or misfortune) of winding up directly below Anne. Looking at the juxtaposed updates made it hard not to think of my friends as sparring: Joe Tirella thinks today is a great day for America. As in, “Joe Tirella, unlike Anne L. Fritz, thinks we have plenty of reasons to celebrate.” Of course, that’s not what he meant. In fact, unless Joe, who is not connected to Anne on Facebook, were scouring my friend list, he wouldn’t even know about Anne’s pro-Hillary leanings, or about Anne’s existence, for that matter. Meanwhile, Kathy Erich Dowd is shocked (and relieved) the Democratic primary is finally over! I kind of feel the same. But: Carla Sosenko would vote for any Democrat over right-wing establishmentarian gasbag McCain any day. I better go update my profile.

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