Add this to the ongoing debate over whether Facebook is worth the $15 billion imputed by Microsoft's investment in the company: A couple's decision to link together their Facebook profiles is now akin to "going steady" in the 1950s -- a serious, public declaration of a romantic relationship, just short of moving in together or getting engaged.
That's the assessment of this interesting Reuters feature that includes several interviews with college students and professors about how people communicate their relationships using the wildly popular social network.
From the story:
"For those in a relationship, the theme that kept echoing was that Facebook made it official," said Nicole Ellison, an assistant professor of telecommunication and information studies at Michigan State University who has studied social networking sites. "That was the term they used. And when the relationship fell apart, when you broke up on Facebook, that's when the breakup was official."
This guy's assessment got me thinking about how valuable Facebook could turn out to be:
"People are beginning to use it more than phones, more than text messages, more than instant messaging, even more than talking in person," said Dave Berkman, a mental health counselor at the University of Wisconsin clinic. "It speeds things up. People are prone to define where they are so they can show other people [online]."