The uses of Facebook and other online social networks
In the Arab world traditions have it that whenthere is intent for marriage, the family of the groom usually asks about the bride and her family. They ask neighbours, work colleagues, school and do a little investigation about her suitability. But the girl's family also asks about the groom and his family so that there will be no surprises later. Some brides were known to refuse the offer if the suitor drinks (even socially) and is perfect in every other aspect as an example. Or maybe the marriage request is pulled of the table if the girl had been engaged before. It all depends on personal preference but basically it is about suitability and beeing of equal standing and peers in the society and not just about knowing if the girl has slept around or if the guy is a drug addict. My online friend T sent me this cartoon ( thanks ) and although I laughed at first, its significance struck me as being totally in sync with the times do you know why ? first let me say briefly what it means for those who can't read Arabic ....
Black and white cartoon: In the past
" You know what, before we go and ask for her hand let's go and ask about her and her parents for their neighbours and hopefully it will be good!"
Colour cartoon : In the present
"Don't tell your parents about her yet man, why dont you probe about her on facebook, check her profile, pictures, list of friends and who sent her flowers. Then investigate in Hi5 and it won't be wrong to Google her name see what comes up ... I mean I don't have anything specific on her, but you never know!"
Ironically this is exactly what happened to one of my neighbours, someone proposed to her and she and her cousin checked his profile on Facebook, he had 130 friends and they were all female :P.
Suffice to say that she was not too pleased about this... I don't know what happened afterwards.